Real estate experts in Nigeria have tasked the Federal Government to explore options of investing in rural-urban housing development to support the nation’s economic growth.
The developers say if Nigeria must succeed in its quest to reverse the current recession, then the government must make deliberate efforts to revive housing development as it does not require long incubation periods to yield return on investment.
The Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria made the call on the backdrop of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the need to provide affordable housing for many rural-urban dwellers to cushion the attendant economic recession.
President of the association, Dr. Aliyu Wamakko who spoke at the second Jakande Housing Lecture Series also lamented the quality of housing infrastructure in Nigeria, where residents do not have access to hygienic sanitation facilities as well as access to water.
“COVID-19 pandemic brought its challenges on the housing sub-sector. The initial protocols were to ‘stay at home and wash hands regularly’. The question remained, was it feasible to adhere to such protocols when the populace have no adequate shelter with requisite infrastructure amongst which is water to wash hands?
Speaking on the theme, ‘‘Still on affordable and decent housing in Nigeria’ Wamako claimed that efforts by previous governments to improve the housing sub-sector has not yielded many results as the housing deficit, especially among the poor, remains high.
“Government policies at all levels need to be re-defined. While we commend the Federal Government’s plan to build 300,000 housing units under the Economic Sustainability Programme, such policy formulation deserves comprehensive analysis.
“As the populous country in the African continent, the time to stem the housing deficit is now. It is no longer news that Nigeria has once again entered its second recession in five years occasioned by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic amongst other things.”
Wamakko urged the Government to concentrate on stimulating the economy via massive housing construction and infrastructure development.
“Housing development requires strategic and holistic planning. Government is therefore called upon to support Rural-Urban Housing Initiative (RUHI-774), aimed at developing at least 100 housing units in each of the 774 Local Government Councils of the Federation including the FCT.