The performance of the housing sector is important for stimulating economic growth. It is the yardstick by which the health of a nation is measured. The occupation, quality and ownership of a house are the best indicators of a person’s standard of living and societal placement. Nigeria has severally been reported to have an estimated housing deficit of about 17 million units, with an annual incremental estimate of about 900,000 units.
Low earnings and/or low savings or disposable income for housing; instability; high interest and inflation rates, short repayment/mortgage tenor, high cost of land registration and titling; high cost of building materials, technology and services; increase in construction cost, inadequate infrastructure and access to finance and/or low interest credit facilities; weak risk sharing legislations and contract enforcement mechanism; unstable economic, political system and housing policies, are the key factors affecting the delivery of affordable housing in Nigeria.
Affordable housing has been variously defined. However, what can reasonably be deduced therefrom is that, there is NO one-size –fit-it-all definition. It rather underscores it as the provision of living units that meet the users’ needs and acceptability in terms of space, health and usability at cost the users can accommodate. It must be off-taker/up-taker driven in terms of adequacy-in quality, acceptability, geo-political or cultural idiosyncrasies and socio-economic capabilities on an agreeable and reasonable periodic equity contribution or repayment regime that should NOT exceed the off-taker’s total disposable income for mortgage or rentals or rent-to-own or build of the housing unit.
“Architecture—Housing For All” is not just a tagline. It is a duty, a demand and a commitment.
Undoubtedly, the delivery of adequate, accessible, affordable and acceptable housing is critical to Nigeria’s reform and Development agenda. Towards this end, the Federal Government, had issued executives orders in support of local content requirements and announced the provision of N500 billion for the resuscitation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN). Thisis expected to enhance the cash-liquidity of mortgage institutions for the delivery of home-grown affordable housing to interested Nigerians.
It therefore implies that “Architecture—Housing For All” is not just a tagline. It is a duty, a demand and a commitment. It further underscores the need for dynamic and responsive policies, programmes and projects towards accelerating the provision of affordable housing supply especially for the urban poor using the most relevant development models like State Budgetary Finance Commitments (SBFC), Designated Consolidated Housing Fund (DCHF); Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN); Private Mortgage Institutions (PMI); group formations like crowd-funding, CDAs/Unions/Cooperative; REIT, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) financing etc, with the government’s intervention through attractive incentives as a social responsibility or for the public good; and her objective performance of the transitory interplay of roles as provider, enabler, facilitator and regulator in order to engender trust, confidence and interest of investors.
Although, we are not unaware of the rural challenges, it is predominantly a factor of quality rather than quantity. It is also apt for Architects, in the discharge of their Corporate Social Responsibility, to work with the rural dwellers, rather than impose ideas, by showing them alternative approach (es) towards improving their living condition and attaining a decent, healthy and safe built environment.
It is therefore our informed view that the Nigerian Architects, her Statutory Professional Regulatory Agency (ARCON) in collaboration with the government and developers/investors can achieve this through establishing appropriate value for competence, commitment, needs assessment, creative design solutions; effective, efficient and acceptable pro-poor policies and programmes that will engender equitable development and investments in affordable and social housing projects, which is in line with the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); specifically goal 11: Making Cities and Human Settlements Safe, Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable.
Arc Noyor E. Omatsone FCArc, FNIA, Maarches – President
Arc. Dr. ‘Koye Jolaoso FCArc, FNIA, Maarches, MNIM, FCipdm, FIcan, iCIOB – National Secretary