Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
As the economy continues to bite harder, over 30 per cent of Nigerians, translating to nearly 62 million people are now facing serious housing challenges, while 80 per cent of the country’s 206 million people live in informal housing, plagued by problems related to poor quality and inadequate infrastructure, Vanguard has learned.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Sow Real Estate, Mrs Uzo Onukwubiri gave the startling statistics at a dinner in Abuja to mark the company’s 10th anniversary.
This was as the immediate past President of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria REDAN, Chief Olabode Afolayan exonerated Nigerian developers from the growing wave of substandard houses and building collapse.
Afolayan, who chaired the occasion also bemoaned the rising cost of building materials in the country.
He said; “This is not a very easy sector but the reward is for eternity because we come up with products tangible to the extent that they can be passed from generation to generation. Unfortunately, we are not much appreciated despite the fact that we live on borrowings.
“I was at the National Assembly the other day and somebody said these realtors, they build houses for you and you continue to work on the houses all the days of your life. And I told him, we are simply investors who put down our money and bring together all factors of production”.
Onukwubiri in her address noted that the dearth of data in the built subsector is partly responsible for Nigeria’s growing housing deficit.
She said; “Nigeria has an estimated population of about 200 million people and about 30 per cent of the entire population still struggle with quality shelter and housing crisis, and this implies that urgent attention should be placed on the country’s housing sector if the housing needs of the inhabitants are to be met.
“One key issue affecting housing delivery in Nigeria is that the level of housing shortage has not been adequately presented. This is a result of inadequate and inappropriate statistics and data by the managers of housing in Nigeria. However, there have been attempts to estimate the magnitude of the housing shortage in Nigeria. The National Housing Policy specified in detail that to achieve the goal of providing 15 million housing units by the year 2022, 1. 2 Million Housing Units would have to be built each year; it concluded that this number is necessary to compensate for the housing shortage in the country.
“It is estimated that around 100,000 housing units are built each year, and an average of 80% of Nigerians live in informal housing, which is plagued by problems related to poor quality and inadequate infrastructure.
“Although the exact reasons for the housing shortage vary across the country, the main problem in Nigeria is the low income of residents. This is problematic since privately constructed houses are expected to comply with official planning laws and other costs incurred during the construction of the house.
“Huge resources including effort, time, materials and money have been devoted to planning the Nigerian environment at the national and sub-national levels. Nonetheless, the various challenges that have been, and are being addressed have hardly diminished. In fact, the problems of housing shortages such as physical deterioration, poverty, inadequacies and inequality in the service delivery system have escalated. The incidence and growth of these problems seem to outpace the capacity of the government to take them on. Nigerians are faced with the fact that their cities are in trouble and that there is an urgent need to do something that will ameliorate the emerging problems”.
The event was attended by officials of the Federal Capital Territory FCT Department of Development Control and several other dignitaries.