Experts have in a bid to address the all time imbalance in the housing industry, which they allege has led to the high deficit in low-income segment of the market, proposed a new scheme that would allow indigent Lagosians own homes and ensure economic growth of the city.
They made the proposal at a meeting organised by Arctic Infrastructure (AI) in partnership with Heinrich Boell Stiftung Nigeria (hbs) and attended by development experts, architects, real estate developers, journalists and financial experts, stakeholders noted that importance of providing affordable housing for the low income group in addressing housing deficits in Lagos.
Exploring the mortgage system of other countries in Africa, which include Mauritius, Morocco and Tunisia, they regretted that the prevailing mortgage practice in Nigeria, the National Housing Fund, Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS), private mortgages do not capture the needs of low-income earners in Lagos.
They said Mauritius has empowered schemes for social housing and international home ownership programmes, Morocco also subsidies loans for home ownership for low-income earners, while Tunisia created a public private partnership programme which subsidies lands for developers who are willing to build social housing for a time frame of five years.
They noted that such strategies have not been implemented by the government to attract low-income earners, but the private sectors have created several schemes, which are still not affordable for the low-income earners having a big challenge of affordable housing, it is more prominent in Lagos.
She cited publications, which focus more on inclusivity, openness and the city Lagos with more single-mindedness on the informal sector and how they can be integrated into the economic development of Lagos State.
Umunna stressed that while in Munich, Germany, most people do not own homes, but rent, people prefer to own homes rather than rent in Lagos State.
According to her, for Lagos to become a smart city, the beliefs and ideologies need to be changed.
“Urbanisation is rapid in Lagos, people migrate into the city daily and they are not leaving. Looking at the rate of population, everyone cannot build a home. Which has led to the necessity to build high-rise buildings, but high-rise buildings are expensive due to elevators and high maintenance of the buildings”, she noted.
Meanwhile, the Arctic Infrastructure and partnering Heinrich Boll Stiftun plans to launch the first Lagos Development Envision Lab (LAGDEL), a four-day residence training programme that will bring together selected talented youth from slums and informal settlements as well as young professionals from the built environment to share knowledge on the fundamental problems and alternative development strategies for the city of Lagos.
Policy Dialogue Participants Task FG On Property Tax
Participants at the monthly Policy Dialogue on the Next Level in Abuja have urged the Federal Government to introduce property tax towards generating necessary funds for its critical projects.
In a resolution at the end of the dialogue, they called on government to strengthen the country’s tax laws to ensure necessary funding for its projects.
The participants observed that dwindling oil revenue had made it difficult for government to fund critical projects.
“Federal government must copy from other countries where property tax plays critical role in revenue generation.
“In Britain for instance, property tax provides large chunk of government revenue, Nigerian government can copy from that by introducing property tax in the country.
“You find Nigerians building large estates across the country without paying tax, this is more pronounced in Abuja where you have large number of unoccupied houses all over the city.
“Taxing those houses will help generate fund for projects in the country,” they said.
The participants also urged government to adopt horizontal personal income tax system in the country to increase income tax revenue.
“Government should adopt horizontal tax system like other countries, this will ensure that high income earners pay more tax, while low income earners pay less.
“This will increase government revenue base and ensure more funding for critical areas of the economy,” they said.
The participants also urged government to strengthen anti corruption agencies in the country for better results.
“Strengthening anti corruption agencies will help recover more stolen funds that could be channeled into critical projects in the country,” they said.
The participants also advised government to enhance the operation of revenue generating agencies by improving their funding, infrastructure and welfare of their personnel.
They also urged government to harmonise its economic policies to prevent conflicts, as well as invest in human capacity development to increase productivity of Nigerians.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Policy Development and Analysis and convener of the dialogue, Alhaji Bapetel Hassan said the object was to get Nigerians’ inputs on government policies towards better service delivery.
“We decided to invite Nigerians from different spheres of life to discuss on policies and programmes of government to get their inputs for better service delivery.
“We would continue with the dialogue on monthly basis,” he said.
Hassan said the outcome of the dialogue would be transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for action.
Some of the participants at the event included university lecturers, entrepreneurs, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), representatives of anti corruption agencies, the media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
Stakeholder Wants FG To Review Housing Provision
The Senior Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Knight Frank Nigeria, Mr Frank Okosun, has asked the Federal Government to revisit housing provision in the country.
Okosun said lack of access to housing had affected many facets of the economy.
He stated that to address the problem, the government should look into mortgage issues and other challenges in the industry, and make housing available to those in need of them.
“There is a huge housing deficit in Nigeria and this has affected a lot of things. Without solving this, everything else will be affected,” he said.
Okosun spoke in Lagos during his investiture as the new Senior Partner/CEO of Knight Frank Nigeria and send off of the immediate past CEO, Mr Albert Orizu.
“Government has to look into housing. Housing delivery is poor. We need to ensure that first-time buyers have access to decent housing,” he added.
According to him, the recently inaugurated economic team should look into the human aspect of the economy by deliberately focusing on housing needs.
Okosun said without access to decent housing, the productivity of people in the working class might be low.
“The government should also try to reduce interest rate. Yes, the government is coming up with different initiatives on housing but it is not trickling down to the low-income earners. There is so much concentration on the upper class,” he added.
Orizu said mortgage remained a major problem hindering the growth of the housing sector.
He, however, stated that there was room for the government to come in and make a difference.
“Housing cost is high but government can participate more in the low and middle-income class where there is more need. Once they are able to make land available and provide good mortgage system, then it will be easier for people to have their own houses,” he said.
China, Nigeria Sign Pact For 5,200 Housing Units Construction
The Hebei Province Investors of People’s Republic of China has Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Nigerian firm, Zvecan Consulting and Engineering Ltd for the construction of 5200 housing units in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The MoU will see the Chinese investors carrying out business in Nigeria’s infrastructure, health, solid minerals, mines, and agriculture sectors.
Speaking during the MoU-signing ceremony in Abuja, last Monday Ying, Executive President of Hebei International Investment Promotion Association, Mr Li Kai said that China remained committed to achieving targets.
According to him, the MoU will increase and improve trade agreements and bilateral relations between the two countries.
Li said: “On behalf of Hebei Province, we are so pleased to be in Nigeria and we are amazed by the infrastructures on the ground.
“We have brought more than 18 delegates from China that cut across various industries, such as manufacturing, investments, the medical profession, and so on.
“We are here to look out for opportunities in the Nigerian market because the country is the most populous in the continent of Africa.
“So the more people make up the population, the bigger the market.
“So if we really want to come into the African market, Nigeria will be our first choice.
“We feel so impressed by what we have seen so far and we are happy with the organisers and government’s willingness to encourage Chinese investors to invest in Nigeria.”
Also speaking, , Bauchi State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr Mohammed Sadiq who also signed an MoU on solid minerals and agriculture, said the agreement would further deepen their trade relations.
According to him, they have brought investors that are relevant to key areas of our state. “We are very interested and we look forward to more robust economic collaborations.
“There are laws put in place by the Federal Government which I think are good enough for investment to thrive.
“I urge the investors to explore platforms provided by the government to their advantage. “Bauchi is naturally endowed with a lot of natural and materials resources.
“We are looking up to a mutual collaboration to harness this to our advantage,” the commissioner said.
ince investors, would deliver affordable houses and roads in the mining sector.
According to him, the MoU is in the agricultural sector, which deals with the exportation of Nigerian products to China.
“It also includes the mining sector which will be centered on the technological aspect of mining.
“The MoU involves the collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and with this, it will help expand our job capacity and technological knowledge transfer,” he said.
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