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Tinubu’s Bold Move to Revolutionizing Nigeria’s Housing Sector

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In a landmark move, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has taken significant steps to address Nigeria’s housing deficit, focusing on making affordable housing more accessible to the Nigerian populace. The initiative, aimed at eliminating legal obstacles that have long hindered the development of affordable housing, marks a pivotal shift in the country’s approach to solving one of its most persistent challenges.

The President’s initiative targets a comprehensive review and amendment of pivotal housing industry legislations. These include the National Housing Fund (NHF) Act, 1992; the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) Establishment Act, 1993; the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Act, 1973, and the PenCom Act. This legislative overhaul is expected to foster increased investment in housing and streamline processes that have traditionally impeded the development of affordable homes.

In a significant ceremony held yesterday in Abuja, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, inaugurated four reform task teams, setting in motion the President’s vision for a revolutionized housing sector. These teams are tasked with executing a series of comprehensive reforms, signifying the government’s dedication to providing decent and affordable housing for Nigerians.

In an ambitious move, the government has also proposed the establishment of the National Social Housing Fund. This initiative, designed to cater to low-income earners and vulnerable segments of the society, is a testament to the government’s commitment to inclusivity in its housing policies.

Highlighting the urgency of these reforms, Minister Dangiwa expressed disappointment with the underperformance of certain housing agencies, particularly the Federal Housing Authority (FHA). Despite significant support from the government, national assembly, and private sector, the FHA has only managed to deliver 50,000 houses in its 50-year existence. This shortfall has been a significant contributor to the country’s housing deficit.

The underutilization of resources and opportunities by agencies such as the FHA and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has been a critical concern. These agencies, despite having access to land and capital market resources, have fallen short in their mandate to provide a sufficient number of houses and facilitate easy access to mortgages for Nigerians.

Recognizing the historical shortcomings in housing policies and their limited impact on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the minister emphasized the need for a radical shift in approach. The housing sector’s contribution to the GDP has remained stagnant for decades, underscoring the urgency of the current reforms.

The newly inaugurated task teams are specialized units designed to tackle specific areas of the housing sector. The Housing Institutions Reform Task Team will focus on revamping housing finance development agencies. The Multi-Agency Project Delivery Team is set to streamline and expedite housing projects. The Land Reform Task Team aims to address and simplify land acquisition processes, and the Building Materials Manufacturing Hubs Task Team will focus on making building materials more accessible and affordable.

In related news, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reported a significant increase in currency circulation outside banks as of November 2023, totaling N3.08 trillion. The UK Government has also pledged to return £6.9 million earmarked for arms purchase, which was misappropriated. Moreover, the Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund (NIDF) announced a distribution of N3.95 per unit for Q4 2023.

The comprehensive housing sector reforms inaugurated by President Tinubu signify a new dawn in Nigeria’s quest to provide affordable housing for its citizens. With these reforms, the government aims to bridge the housing deficit gap, improving the quality of life for Nigerians and contributing to the country’s economic growth. As these reforms unfold, they promise to reshape not just the housing sector, but also the socio-economic landscape of Nigeria.

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