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Stakeholders propose states’ affordable housing commissions, trust fund

Apparently, to ensure collaboration in the delivery of affordable housing for low-income earners, stakeholders have called for the setting up of state affordable housing commissions.

They also suggested a public-private partnership among state governments and organised private sector, developers, academics, landowners, building material suppliers and manufacturers.

The stakeholders spoke during a session at the Abuja International Housing Show on “Building Support for Affordable Housing Agenda through Collaboration.”

The Managing Director, Nigeria Police Force Property Development and Construction Company Limited, Olukemi Olomola-Sijuwade, who created the idea, said government role should be limited to creating policy and regulatory environment for the delivery of affordable housing.

“The government planning departments should by law ensure that adequate land is available and dedicated for affordable housing based on data on housing need. In the same vein, developers could focus on delivery of housing in many cases specialising in specific market segments. On the financing side, mortgage providers should focus on ensuring the availability of mortgages and limiting the exit risk of developers.

“For the affordable housing agenda to make any meaningful impact, there must be a synergy of all stakeholders and building support for the affordable housing agenda,” she said.

Specifically, Olomola-Sijuwade recommended that the private and public sector led by a representative board should jointly manage the commission, including all stakeholders with leadership by rotation.

She said the proposed commissions should be responsible for carrying out a housing needs study every five years, engage in capacity building and training programmes; ensuring the planning system sets aside adequate land to meet housing needs by allocating lands for affordable housing and regeneration.

According to her, the commission should be in charge of managing/facilitating an Affordable Housing Trust Fund (HTF) in conjunction with the government issuing long-term bonds; providing independent statistics and data on yearly housing delivery; regulation of developers, including maintaining quality standards; consumer protection by checking defects in insurance and distilling policy to execution.

She further suggested that the commissions be funded through stakeholders, grants, government subvention and private sector contribution. “One tool that can be used to achieve the required funding challenge is setting up a HTF with the specific purpose of creating and preserving housing for low and moderate-income individuals within the states,” she said.

Olomola-Sijuwade suggested that the HTF should be managed by a non-profit organisation. “The Fund can be capitalised by philanthropic organisations and commercial banks. The emphasis of the Fund will be on the provision of affordable housing to low-income households, especially for homeownership opportunities.

“To achieve practicability, the commissions could be a one-stop centre for affordable housing, designed and fitted to address issues that contribute to affordability,” she added.

She also wants establishment of a Working Group of Stakeholders (WGS) that is committed to supporting the affordable housing agenda. “The WGS must engage in joint planning towards the creation of affordable housing at different level of society- from Federal to States, local government councils down to the community level.

“This joint planning must be intentionally geared towards establishing a framework for inclusive development that can be cascaded to the lowest strata of the society in terms of achieving the affordable housing agenda.”

In his submission, the Managing Director, UACN Property Development Company (UPDC), Odunayo Ojo, said there is need to leverage on collaboration such as Public-Private Partnership (PPP), collaboration among players in the housing sector and players in other sectors to solve existing problems.

The Principal Private Sector Specialist, African Development Bank (AFDB), Emmanuel Akinwumi, called for paradigm shift from silo housing development to building as communities; collaboration in the building of housing infrastructure, financing, structures and services.

He also sought for partnership in affordable housing ownership and affordable rentals, including rent-to-own and collaboration in strengthening policies and laws for protecting property rights, and building standards.

Akinwumi wants the establishment and implementation of laws property occupancy oversights to deal with persons abusing their authorised land-use and turning themselves to noxious neighbours as well as reforms in land ownership to post-construction maintenance.

MEANWHILE, Shelter Afrique has listed three strategies to revolutionise affordable housing for post-pandemic recovery in Nigeria.

“Large scale housing delivered by Private-Public-Partnerships (PPPs) are a vital way to plug the widening housing deficit in Africa and also inject much-needed capital into the economy,” according to the Group Managing Director, Shelter Afrique, Mr. Andrew Chimphondah.

He said: “The pandemic has forced creative thinking and reinvention of supply-chains for construction within Africa, adding that there is the need to leverage on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).

“The pandemic has served as an impetus to adopt dynamic technologies to enhance affordable housing delivery, such as 3-D printing and remote project management.”

SOURCE: Guardian.ng

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