The Chief Executive Officer of the Millard Fuller Foundation, Sam Odia, has advised stakeholders in the housing value chain to be deliberate in the provision of affordable homes, stating that innovative solutions will help to solve the housing challenges in Nigeria.
Odia who gave this advice while speaking at the 15th Abuja International Housing Show with the theme, ‘Sustainable and Resilient Housing Solutions for a Post Pandemic World’, noted that half of the problems confronting the housing sector in Nigeria would be history if the Land Use Act is amended, mortgage financing made available and easily accessible, and quality affordable homes made available to the bottom 40% of the country’s population.
He said, “Rather than paying lip-service to the challenges confronting us, there should be innovative housing solutions that take cognisance of the economic plight of the masses. We need to come to terms with the reality rather than continue to sink our heads to the ground like ostriches. We talk about affordable housing without recourse to the earning power of the common man. We also talk about off-take financing and the perennial challenge of the Land Use Act. However, what we really need are innovative solutions to these problems.”
He further said, “Whether we like it or not, 80% of ongoing house construction in the country is completely devoid of the Land Use Act, and the reason why the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing said Nigerians are not homeless is because most of us live in poor quality houses situated in informal settlements.”
Odia then said that the key to solving the challenge of affordable housing in Nigeria is to develop tiny but expandable housing units that can fit into the pocket of the minimum wage earner and noted that the Millard Fuller Foundation has developed 1,000 of such housing units in its 15 years of existence.
In concluding his presentation, he stated that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria’s N1m home improvement loan is no doubt the future of housing finance, as the low-income earner can subscribe to it as the first step in their journey to homeownership.