Representatives proffer solutions to housing crisis

The House of Representatives has pledged a comprehensive review of the laws governing mortgages as part of measures to solve Housing Deficit in Nigeria.

The Speaker of the House, Mr. Yakubu Dogara said the House would consider bills that would address the housing crisis in line with the 8th Assembly’s legislative agenda.

He was speaking when he declared open the 11th Abuja Housing Show.

According to Mr Dogara, the provision of shelter is one of the duties of government, as contained in Section 16 of the Constitution, and this is why housing is a cardinal part of the legislative agenda for the 8th House, which he presides over.

 “It is estimated that Nigeria requires about 17 million houses

to bridge the deficit. This is why, the House of Representatives made housing a cardinal part of its Legislative Agenda. It provides in item 6 (h) for a Legislative Initiative on Housing, Urban Development, Mortgages,’’ he stated.

Creation of new cities
Mr. Dogara revealed that the Legislative Agenda provided for a legislative initiative on creation of new cities and regional hubs for development in all six geo-political zones.

He said; “Under this concept, legislative action and support will be given to identify and create at least one large and expansive area provided with 21st century infrastructure that creates a modern city equipped with basic infrastructure, fast rail, mono-rail, communications, Information Communication Technology, etc. In this direction, a legal framework that actively involves private sector participation will be put in place and necessary amendments to relevant existing laws introduced.”

The Speaker noted that despite previous governments’ interventions and frameworks such as the Federal Mortgage Bank and the Federal Housing Authority, the persisting challenge has been lack of long-term money with which such mortgages can be financed.

According to him, this led to the introduction of Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company by the Nigerian government, which involves the private sector that the duty of making the required funds available to banks, and lend to the public as mortgages.

The Speaker also advocated for a reduction in the cost of building materials in order to make housing more affordable, as owning a home has since become a luxury.

He urged practitioners in the housing sector present at the event, to come up with a draft bill of the type of legislation which would be required to effectively address the country’s housing challenges.

PR/ Lawan Hamidu