Sam Odia – Social Housing – The South African Model (II)
thisdailylive.com. September, 25, 2012. Good things may be in the offing in the housing sector if some of the signs we are witnessing are anything to go by. First of all, following several months of hard work, on the 14th of December 2011 the Federal Executive Council (FEC) officially adopted the revised National Housing and Urban Development Policies as official policies of the Federal Government. The new housing policy whose prime objective is to “ensure that all Nigerians own or have access to decent, safe and sanitary housing in healthy environment with infrastructural services at affordable cost, with secure tenure” dedicates a whole chapter to the social housing sector, specifying its target as those in the no-income, low-income and lower-mid-income groups – an upper limit that is defined as not exceeding 4 times the national minimum wage (presently N18,000) or, N72,000 per month.
But the adoption of the new policy is not all that is brewing in the housing sector. A separate bill, privately sponsored by Senator Benedict Ayade (Cross River North) ‘to provide a Social Housing Scheme in Nigeria…’ has gone through first and second readings and will, hopefully become law before the year runs out. The sponsorship of this bill deserves the commendation of all and sundry who yearn to see housing made affordable to ordinary people in this country. The proposed social housing scheme, whose main objectives include the significant improvement of the well-being of the poor & needy, will provide a window of opportunity for governments at all levels to demonstrate their commitment to the provision of housing as a social responsibility to the citizenry; it will also seek to unlock benefits to the economy in the realm of wealth creation and employment generation.