THE GROWING HOUSING DEFICIT IN NIGERIA
Everyone wants to have a quality and a comfortable lifestyle. In as much as this is necessary, the quality of life of people should not be neglected.
The word “Housing” signifies one of the rudimentary human needs. According to Abraham Maslow, he identified the following as the basic needs of human; food, clothing & shelter. In view of this, housing is recognized as one of the basic necessities of life and a pre-requisite to the survival of man.
Housing means more than just a shelter, it is to be understood in the context of one’s immediate living environment, comprising the shelter and its surroundings. Besides protection from the elements of climate, housing provides privacy for relaxation and facilities, security & dignity, and it also provides the physical framework in which human, social, economic and cultural are realized, enriched and integrated. As a unit of the environment, it has a reflective influence on the health, efficiency, social behavior, gratification, productivity and general welfare of the community.
The performance of the housing sector is one of the yardsticks by which the health of a nation is measured. The housing sector is seen as important for stimulating economic growth. With the current situation of things going on in Nigeria, there has been lots of unmet solutions especially when it comes to housing.
Housing deficit is a global phenomenon and it is not in any way peculiar to Nigeria. In Nigeria mostly, it is recognized that the majority of the people who are in demand for housing are the low-income earners. As a result of this, government approach to addressing of the problem centers on the fundamental issues of availability and affordability. Government at various times have come up with housing policies but none has been able to address the housing problems completely. The truth is, the major focus of the government is diverted into investment that yield them more revenues forgetting that masses are suffering and only few people can afford a quality and comfortable lifestyle.
With Nigeria’s rising population and urbanization, worsened by Nigeria’s economic condition, the deficit in housing has continued to rise. As at now, Nigeria reportedly has only about 20 percent access to affordable homes. For instance, where we have a society that basic needs are out of alignment with the salaries that people earn, it can only be regarded as a mismatch. Assuming the minimum wage of a matured man with a family of four (4) is N 30,000, how do we expect such a man to survive, considering the fact that surviving in Nigeria is hard.
So many scholars have come up with proven solutions that can mitigate against this concurrent housing deficit in Nigeria. It is high time government looked into those areas so that the problems will be reduced drastically.
Below are some solutions to curb the housing deficit;
- Government should maintain a conductive macro-economic environment which entails the maintenance of low inflation, low interest rates and stable exchange rates.
- There is a need to deepen the housing financial market and as well as liberalizing access to it on a long-term basis for all categories of income.
- It is necessary to make available all the information on the procedure for obtaining financial assistance from all quarters by government.
- There should be a balance to both the high, middle and low-income earners when it comes to accessing building materials and using skilled laborer. Most times, the billings are way too expensive.
- A critical review of the Land Use Act should be done to address the challenges of access to land.
- There should be a conscious attempt at reducing the bureaucracy involved in the process of perfecting title documents.
- The mortgage institution should be made more vibrant.