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A REVIEW OF 2002 HOUSING POLICY IN NIGERIA


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During this period the illusionary perception of the government was that availability was not the problem of housing in the country but affordable is the case (Mabogunje, 2004) described as a mere illusion. The government establishes the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and proposes a housing reform. The period 2000-2004 policy focus was on the private sector to serve as the main catalysts for housing delivery in Nigeria while the government concentrates on the provision of basic infrastructures on the new housing development. Issues in the Land Use Act were equally given attention for review as well as the financial structure such as the FMBM and provision of incentives to developers inform of tax holidays for five years. The present policy recognizes the private sector as the main solution to the housing deficit in the country while the governments opt so function as an enabler and facilitator in the housing delivery (Abdullahi, 2010).
           
            The inability of earlier policies and programmes to adequately resolve the backlog of housing problems in the country reveals the need for more pragmatic solutions and this form the basis for a review of the 1991 National Housing Policy. Given the importance of housing in the national economy, the federal government of Nigeria set up a 15 man committee on urban development and housing in 2001. One of the responsibilities of the committee was to articulate a new housing policy. The report of the committee as accepted by the federal government was published in government white paper on the report of the presidential committee on urban development and housing in the year 2002. Part one of the report contain the new housing policy, which was subsequently published as draft national housing policy in January, 2004. The draft policy was subjected to critical comments and inputs across the different states of the federation and the New National Housing Policy published in the year 2006.This policy came up with some transitionary strategies in which government made significant effort in partial disengagement into housing provision and encourage privately developed housing (Mabogunje, 2003).Under the policy adjustment such as the amortization period which was 25years under the previous policy was jacked up to 30years, interest on NHF loans to PMI’s were scaled down from 5% to 4% while the lending rate to contributors is reduced to 6% from previous 9%.The new policy aimed at removing the impediments to the realization of housing goal of the nation. The goal of the policy is to ensure that Nigerians own or have access to decent, safe and healthy housing accommodation at affordable cost”. This goal is similar to that of the 1991 policy except that the fulfillment of the policy is not tied to a specific period. The scope of the policy objectives has also been widened to include some of the issues put under the 1991 policy strategies. The policy objectives are:
i)                    Develop and sustain the political will of the government for the provision of housing for Nigerians.
ii)                  Provide adequate incentives and an enabling environment for greater private sector (formal and informal) participation in the provision of housing.
iii)                Strengthen all existing public institutions involved in the housing delivery at the federal level.
iv)                Business Management Dynamics.
v)                  Encourage and promote active participation of other tiers of government in housing delivery.
vi)                Create necessary and appropriate institutional frame work for housing delivery.
vii)              Strengthen the institutional frame work to facilitate effective housing delivery.
viii)            Develop and promote measures that will mobilize long term sustainable and cheap funding for the housing sector.
ix)                Government shall by patronage, develop and promote the use of certified locally produced building materials as a means of reducing construction cost.
x)                  Ensure the use of relevant and fully registered Nigerian professionals to provide appropriate designs and management in housing delivery.
xi)                Develop and promote the use of appropriate technology in housing construction and materials production.
xii)              Make land for housing development easily accessible and affordable.
xiii)            Develop and promote a national housing market.
xiv)            Enact laws and make regulations to prevent and control fire incidence in Nigeria.
xv)              Improve the quality of rural housing, rural infrastructure and environment.
xvi)            The main policy thrust is on institutional reform, capacity building, and increased financial mobilization to the housing sector, local building material production and adequate access to building land.
xvii)          In order to achieve the policy objectives, 22 strategies were specified in section 2.3 of the policy, some of which are:
xviii)        Strengthen and sustain the federal ministry of Housing and Urban Development to harmonize and monitor housing delivery in Nigeria.
xix)            Maintain and strengthen the department in the standard organization of Nigeria responsible for monitoring and setting minimum performance standard in the building industry.
xx)              Restructure and adequately capitalize the following institution to effectively perform their statutory roles: the federal mortgage bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Federal Mortgage Finance Limited (FMF) and Urban Development Bank (UDB).
xxi)            Restructure and adequately fund the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute to perform its statutory role.
xxii)          Nominate representative of relevant professional bodies, stake holders and organize private sector into the policy making organs.
xxiii)        Review as when necessary, the provision of the followings to make them more effective and enforceable: Mortgage Institutions Act, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Act, Trustee Investment Act, Insurance Act, National Housing Fund Act., Employees Housing Scheme (special provision) Act, Federal Government Staff Housing Board Act., Urban Development Bank Act, and Land use Act.
xxiv)        Establish and sustain a secondary mortgage market to enhance greater accessibility to long term housing fund for house ownership among all segments of the Nigerian population.
xxv)          Grant fiscal incentives to small and medium scale local manufacturers of building materials.
xxvi)        In collaboration with federal ministry of Housing and Urban Development, federal ministry of industries, the NBRRI and the committee of bankers, to promote the growth and development of small and medium scale industry in the building material sub sector.
xxvii)      Promote and encourage partnership between research institutes and private organizations.
xxviii)    Ensure the enforcement (government example) of the provisions professional practice Action the building industry.
xxix)        Encourage and fund the training of skilled manpower required for the building industry.
xxx)          Encourage the use of conventional building systems as a means for marrying the need for mass housing to employment and wealth generation.
xxxi)        Establish regional economic and infrastructural planning progrmmes that would enhance the socio-economic status of the rural dwellers throughout the country.
xxxii)      Devise simple and affordable techniques for upgrading existing housing stock.
xxxiii)    Encourage the establishment of cooperatives or housing association to enable the rural dwellers has access to fund.
xxxiv)    Embark on and sustain appropriate urban renewal programmes in blighted areas.

The new policy emphasizes private sector participation in housing finance and investment. In fact, one of the short term measures advanced in the policy is the commencement of the implementation of a private sector lead housing construction programme. Section 3.5 specifies the role of the private sector to include participation in the employees housing scheme, establishment of the primary mortgage institutions and cooperating with all tiers of government in the provisions of houses. The new housing policy as it is consists of nine chapters. Chapter one is the general introduction including a review of the past policies and programmes. Chapter two has housing policy goal, objectives and strategies. In order to resolve the problem of inadequate access to land, in chapter three the goal of making building plots available at the right time, in the right place and at reasonable prices for people willing to build. It re-emphasize the problem of land use act of 1978 and recommended the immediate amendment to the land use decree. The proposed amendment includes the land use registries at local government areas, review of the composition of the local government land allocation committee to include relevant professionals, amendment of the land compensation law to reflect present day economic value of land and quick payment of compensation, provision of guidelines for fixing ground rent and separation of the land use decree from the 1999 constitution of Nigeria among others. The policy also intends to improve the procedure for land registration by means of survey and cadastral maps as national system of compulsory land registration. Chapter five of the policy considered the issue of housing finance and advanced proposals for improvements. Other issues considered include building materials and construction cost in chapter six, low income and rural housing chapter seven. It is worth noting however, that the new housing policy meant to address the housing needs of Nigerians. The policy emanates from the recognition of the various impediments to housing policy and programme implementation in the past and an attempt to proper long lasting solutions. The effectiveness of the policy measure is already manifesting in the housing finance sector as brought about by the recent mortgage finance reforms. However, the success of the policy depends largely on the provision of necessary political will through the creation of an enabling environment for people to own or have access to decent accommodation.

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