Hope for universal shelter was rekindled yesterday as the Senate mandated its Committee on Housing to work out modalities with stakeholders in the housing sector for affordable housing for the low-income Nigerians.
The resolution was sequel to consideration of a motion on the ‘Urgent Need to Reform the Housing Policy and Mortgage Financing in Nigeria to Meet the Escalating Housing Demand in the Country’.
Sponsor of the motion, Albert Akpan, noted that low- and middle-income earners constitute the largest active population in the country.
This population, according to him, finds it difficult to have access to housing in their lifetime.
He recalled that the National Housing Fund (NHF) Act of 1992 was specifically intended to cater for Nigerians in line with the various housing policies and international conventions and treaties, which Nigeria signed.
Akpan indicated that by virtue of the provisions of the NHF Act, a working class Nigerian was required to contribute 2.5 per cent of his or her monthly salary to the fund, which provides funding to the Primary Mortgage Institutions (PMIs).
He said, “Access to the fund through the PMI is cumbersome due to stringent and complex eligibility criteria which makes the development of housing through the fund challenging or practically impossible to date.
“Since the creation of the fund in 1992, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) as at 2013 had disbursed only N100.5 billion.
“In 2015, out of four million registered contributors to the fund, only 60,000 (1.5 per cent) were able to access mortgage loans through the fund, leading to the construction of only 40,653 houses across the country,” Akpan said.
The lawmaker further lamented the existence of little or no impact of the National Social Housing Scheme (NSHS) in the country over the years owing to population growth.
“There is dire need of a total review of our National Housing Policy framework to meet the needs of our people, especially the poorest Nigerians, in line with the various international conventions/treaties of which nigeria is a signatory,” Bassey said.
In his contribution, Sen. Francis Fadahunsi (PDP, Osun East) called on the Federal Government to undertake an immediate overhaul of the country’s housing policy to ease the burden of poor Nigerians.
“There is need to reorganise the housing policy, so that it will benefit the whole of Nigerians as soon as possible,” he said.
Sen. Binos Dauda (PDP, Adamawa South) called for a review of housing policies and mortgage financing.
“It is important for this sector to be reformed, so that our people can have houses,” he added.