Says Nigerian Housing Sector is heading in the right direction as 11th National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development ends in Sokoto
· Over 5,000 C of O’s issued and 2,738 Consent to land transactions granted by FG since 2017
· Charges States on land reforms; need to think and act on how to make payment of rent easier for both tenants and landlords
· In a Communiqué Council approves recapitalization of FMBN to meet world standard, among other recommendations
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has said that State Governments could apply on behalf of their residents and indigenes for the houses currently being subscribed to from the National Housing Programme across 34 States of the country.
Speaking at the Executive Session of the 11th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, with the theme “Housing our People By All of Government and All Our People”, which held in Sokoto, the Sokoto State capital, from Monday, July 25 to Friday, July 29, 2022, Fashola explained that the State Governments could apply to fund the acquisition of parts of the National Housing Programmes constructed in their States should they desire to do so adding that after the acquisition, the State governments could then allocate to interested residents and indigenes.
“Let me use this platform to inform the meeting that State Governments can apply on behalf of their residents or indigenes to fund the acquisition of parts of the National Housing Programmes constructed in the states should they be so desirous,” the Minister informed the gathering which had in attendance the host State Governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, State Commissioners in charge of Housing and land matters, law makers, the Permanent Secretary, Mr Bashir Nura Alkali, senior Ministry officials and representatives of various stakeholders in the Housing Sector.
Expressing delight that the National Housing Programme that was initiated by the Ministry under the Muhammadu Buhari administration is now delivering on its objective, the Minister added that apart from stimulating the economies of the 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory in the communities where work is being undertaken, the construction sites have become and remain centres of supply for building materials and other commodities.
The Minister, however, pointed out that whatever the Federal and State Governments could do by way of housing construction was limited compared to what the private sector could do adding that the evidence out there showed very clearly that the bulk of housing in the society and across the world was delivered by the private sector consisting of individuals and corporate bodies.
“In this regard, I am happy to report a visible increase in the participation of the private sector in Nigeria’s housing sector”, he said adding that the evidence of the development of estates across the nation could be seen, read and heard on the many media platforms in the country. “This is most welcome and must be encouraged”, he said.
On the theme of this year’s Meeting, Fashola, who said the message emphasized the need for the collaboration of all levels of government and the private sector in housing delivery, declared, “From what I have said so far about what the Federal Government is doing, what the states are doing and what the private sector is doing, the Nigerian housing sector is heading in the right direction even if there is more work to be done”.
The Minister said even with this realization, there was need for consciousness that not everybody wants a house built by government adding that there are those who would wish to build their houses themselves and only seek access to land.
“We must, therefore, reform the process that governs the allocation of land and issuance of title documents such as Certificates of Occupancy” he said adding, “While the Federal Government has land mainly acquired from the States, the bulk of the work that needs to be done lies with the State Governments because of their almost total control of land by virtue of the Land Use Act”.
Dismissing the argument in some quarters that the Land Use Act is the problem about access to land, Fashola pointed out that if there were such problem it would be with the administration of the law adding, “How much have we automated our land administration processes in order to make them efficient before complaining about that law? States that have made this type of investment will report an improvement in their land administration system”.
“Today I can tell you that since 2017, when the President delegated his power under the Land Use Act to grant Consent and issue Certificate of Occupancy to the Ministry we have issued over 5,000 Certificates of Occupancy and granted 2,738 Consent to land transactions”, the Minister said, adding that there is need to pay attention to the documents to facilitate housing delivery and housing finance.
On the issue of rent, the Minister, who urged that Housing supply and demand be seen beyond ownership alone to include rental housing, said that the Federal Government has introduced, at its own level, the Rent-to-Own system into its acquisition/sale model for the disposal of the Houses in the National Housing Programme.
He acknowledged that majority of the houses belong to the private sector who “expect legitimate income from rent for the properties”, but added that asking for two to three years rent in advance from working class people (as distinct from corporate tenants who may prefer to pay in advance) does more harm than good to all concerned and to the economy.
Fashola, who also conceded that rent is a local matter over which the Federal Government has no constitutional authority, however, added, “I use the platform of this meeting to challenge and provoke all state representatives to thoughts and action about how we can make the payment of rent easier and comfortable for both tenants and landlords”.
“This would be a most revolutionary intervention when working class people can pay their rent when they receive their salaries. This is possible if we try and this will give the fullest possible expression to the theme of this meeting which is “Housing Our People, By All of Government and All Our People”.
Welcoming all the participants to the meeting, Fashola also thanked the Governor of Sokoto State, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, the people and government of Sokoto State for accepting to host this year’s meeting and for all the provisions they made in that regard adding that as a result of the National Housing Programme many people who hitherto were unemployed have had their dignity restored “because they can leave home every day saying to their families – I am going to work”.
“This is the part of the change we promised, and Sokoto State has not been left out”, the Minister said expressing delight also that the Ministry is now in a “Season of Completion”, as many of the houses have been completed and are now being handed over to the beneficiaries “who follow the allocation procedure set out in the National Housing Programme web portal (nhp.worksandhousing.gov.ng)”.
On the various commissioning currently going on across the states, he recalled that on March 22, 2022, the Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, represented President Buhari to Commission the Sokoto State National Housing Programme adding that the first phase in the State included 80 units of housing comprising 4 units one bedroom, 48 units two bedroom, 28 units three-bedroom bungalows.
Describing the ongoing commissioning as the evidence of Change, Fashola declared, “Today, people who had long dreamt to be homeowners now live that reality as they have been successfully allocated some of these houses”, adding that one of the most pleasing impacts of the National Housing initiative is that it has been used by President Buhari, to redeem the housing promise made to the 22-man squad of the Super Eagles since winning the African Nations Cup in 1994.
“A promise that remained unfulfilled for 28 years has been redeemed by President Buhari, and if you ask the members of the Super Eagles, they will tell you that things have changed for them for the better”, the Minister said adding, however, that the National Housing Programme is only one initiative of the Federal Government to address the housing needs of our people.
According to the Minister, “There are others by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) by way of direct construction in various states, just as the Federal Mortgage Bank has financed the construction of about 6000 housing units at various stages of completion.
“Similarly, the Federal Government has increased its financing intervention support for housing through the Federal Mortgage Bank by increasing the number of mortgages that have been issued and reducing the equity contribution requirement to make it more accessible”, he said.
He commended the State Governments for efforts in this direction adding, “I cannot ignore the various interventions by State Governments who have sensibly deployed resources to provide housing in their states and our host, Sokoto State is a good example”.
In its Communiqué, the Council, among others, approved that the Government recapitalizes the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and build its capacity to the standard of similar World Class Institutions to take charge of housing development and finance, advocacy, compliance, mortgage guarantee, securitization, training and capacity building, improvement of communities, energy efficiency and drive positive growth in the overall economy.
The Council also urged all States concerned to domesticate the National Urban and Regional Planning Laws in order to improve on the quality and sustainability of the environment.