Research institute faults 17m housing deficit on back of population shift
For over a decade now, Nigeria and stakeholders in the housing sector have been estimating the country’s housing deficit at 17 million units. But the Nigerian building and roads research institute (NBRRI) has faulted this figure, saying it is no longer tenable.
The research institute contends that the population of the country has shifted. Quoting findings by Worldometer, 2017, the institute notes that from 2012 to date, Nigeria’s population has increased from 168,240,403 to 191,835,936, representing 23,595,533 additional people to the population.
“The housing deficiency has, therefore, climbed and is likely to worsen in the nearest future if urgent steps are not taken by the government in conjunction with all stakeholders to address the problem”, said Danladi Matawal, DG/CEO of the institute at a housing conference in Abuja.
Matawal noted that almost every dispensation since the colonial era has formulated policies to contain the housing situations, but while some yielded success, some have failed to make any significant impact in the housing and real estate sector or the country.
The World Bank in 2013 stated that in order for Nigeria to keep up with the demand for housing, 700,000 houses need to be developed annually to match growing population and urban migration, but less than 100,000 houses are being built in the country on yearly basis.
The director general, therefore, canvassed a paradigm shift in approach to providing housing in Nigeria from a conventional process-based approach to more compartmentalised and adaptable strategies.
Reasons for poor housing situation in Nigeria, he said, include access to finance, legal processes surrounding property and land procurement, access to affordable high quality building materials as building in Nigeria is relatively expensive which, in turn, reflects on high cost paid by end users.
“Conscious and timely efforts are required to adopt strategies that will significantly reduce the cost of building houses and I recommend the provision of affordable housing by harnessing and integrating alternative building technologies and building materials to reduce the cost of building houses in Nigeria”, he said.
Continuing, he said, “building houses are highly capital intensive projects and a bulk of this capital is gulped up in procuring building materials which alone have been estimated to constitute 60 percent of the cost of constructing a building”.
According to him, besides the cost implications of undertaking high volumes of construction projects, there is also the sustainability issue, hence the need to consider alternative building materials and technologies that would be substitutes or complimentary to conventional building materials.
He listed conventional building materials as concrete, steel, glass, timber, etc which take a lot of time to produce and assemble and may pose a time challenge. These could be replaced with basic alternative materials which are predominantly traditional such as thatch, mud/clay, laterite, gravel, straw, azara and raffia palm that have been in local production from historic times.
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