In a surprising turn, President Bola Tinubu recently signed N28.7 billion budget for 2024 has raised eyebrows, particularly concerning the allocation for the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (FMHUD). The budget, with N99,982,577,351 billion earmarked for FMHUD, has sparked criticism from housing industry experts who deem it inadequate and inconsistent with Tinubu’s ambitious campaign pledges.
Despite representing a 35 percent share of the total budget for capital expenditure, the housing ministry’s allocation lags behind other crucial sectors, such as the National Assembly, Education, Health, and even the Ministry of Police Affairs.
FMHUD, established by the Tinubu administration through the unbundling of the former Ministry of Works and Housing, received a mixed reception. Experts expected a more substantial budget for a ministry considered vital for addressing the housing deficit.
Paul Onwuanibe, Group CEO of Landmark Africa Group, emphasized the importance of a favorable first impression from the government to encourage investors and stakeholders in the housing sector.
Critics point out a mismatch between the budget figures and Tinubu’s promises during his presidential campaign. The breakdown reveals allocations for specific initiatives, including the construction of 20,000 units under the Renewed Hope Agenda housing scheme, the establishment of local building material manufacturing clusters, and slum area upgrades across 18 states.
Johnson Chukwuma, a construction consultant, expressed concern over the disparity between budget figures and campaign promises, emphasizing the need for the government to provide necessary infrastructure and create an enabling environment for private sector involvement in housing.
Tinubu’s vision to tackle the housing deficit by merging federal home ownership agencies into a new entity, promising low-interest mortgages, and revitalizing the mortgage sector, has yet to materialize. Industry insiders anticipated the creation of a significant housing agency and budgetary provisions for its implementation.
As stakeholders voice skepticism over funding challenges, Obinna Chilekezi, principal consultant at Intes Training & Edu Services Nigeria, emphasizes the need for a well-thought-out policy to make land available for developers and suggests high-rise buildings for effective land utilization. The housing plan, though lauded, faces doubts regarding its execution amidst financial constraints.