Affordable Rural, Urban Housing For A Modern Society

Taiwo Ajayi
6 Min Read

Shelter, one of the three basic human needs, is fundamentally a necessity for the protection of life from adverse weather conditions, weather changes and some dangerous animals.

A shelter, designed and built for modern living in any contemporary society at an affordable cost, should be a place fit for human habitation with essential facilities for the maintenance of a sound mind and vital sustenance of good health. Housing development in the modern world is a key issue in all economies of the world because, the global population that has been on the increase has exposed most economies as societies with acute housing deficit (with definite shortage due to population explosion in most urban areas), especially in the third world countries or most developing nations like in Africa.

Such a gap created by the inadequate provision of housing for families requires a strategic long term plan that is continuously addressed and constantly filled up, by both private investors in housing development business and the physical planning arm of the governments at all levels.

In Nigeria, available, livable and affordable houses in the urban centres and the big cities within the length and breadth of the 36 states and the FCT Abuja is grossly inadequate, and in short supply, for the growing population within the economy.

This therefore, calls for a quick intervention from the government, the private sector and other investors from within and without. It is going to either be an arrangement that can continually develop, build and provide adequate public housing schemes in most locations of the country, through a policy of public, private partnership (PPP) arrangement; or a housing scheme that shall suit both the low and high income earners respectively (among all social classes within the socioeconomic landscape of the Nigerian economy), in an affordable manner that private developers in the real estate business, could embark and undertake in the mass housing project that is designed in a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis. Or in any other model that may suit both the developers and their numerous prospective clients (like an outright sale of finished and fully equipped houses.

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The visibly obvious housing problem in the country can be solved, both in the rural and urban areas through a robust, well thought out and thoroughly worked out programme by the tiers of government in the land. These levels of ambitious (but realistic and achievable) housing development to fill up the gap in housing provision, with an implementation that counters the challenging housing deficiency that keeps mounting due to population increase, are doable and achievable. This would be under a condition of strict and disciplined financial prudence and transparency in the project management amongst all the players and stakeholders, in such a special scheme that is on a long term basis. Such novel and innovative planning could be unique, and independently and discretely arranged in various pockets or groups, among all the stakeholders. This is a template that needs to be covered under the laws of the land (for legitimacy), and to sufficiently protect the interests and funding of all stakeholders involved in the project.

The usefulness and the services of the federal government’s established agency in housing development (under the existing act governing it), the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), would be greatly appreciated in such schemes for public housing development and mass housing units and estates, especially for low income earners, civil servants, and pensioners (the retired senior citizens).

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The services of these groups, fully and formally recognised under that umbrella as genuine investors and housing developers, will need to be maximally exploited and optimally harnessed. REDAN has been in existence and operational within the economy for the past three decades (although not very visible in all the states of Nigeria, by the design of some registered members who prefer to operate quietly). The attractive aspect of such an organ in the real estate business is that state governments can leverage the advantage of their existence and optimally maximise their usefulness in the PPP arrangements for their public servants in their respective states.

They can do this as a way of delivering good governance and socioeconomic benefits for their state employees, offering an assurance of one’s personal home, to be owned after retirement from active service.

Relevant partners and financiers are urged to synergize and offer financial assistance to both the prospective homeowners and the legitimate housing developers and providers (armed with various necessary governmental backings). This is for the purpose of accessing funds, to make it feasible and realisable, in terms of the proven available opportunities they offer to such potential applicants. 

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