| National trends in housing-production practices |
|1. Changing shelter policies in Nigeria|
The ultimate goal of the National Housing Policy is to ensure that all Nigerians own or have access to decent housing accommodation at affordable cost by the year 2000.
In order to achieve this laudable goal, the Government decided to pursue the following policy objectives:
• Encourage and promote active participation in housing delivery by all tiers of government;
• Strengthen institutions within the system to render their operations more responsive to demand;
• Emphasise housing investments which satisfy basic needs;
• Encourage greater participation by the private sector in housing delivery.
The above objectives, among others, constitute the cardinal points for the implementation of the housing policy.
To accomplish the objectives, the following strategies have been put in place (FRN, 1991 10-12):
• Establishment of an appropriate institutional framework to facilitate effective planning in housing supply;
• Restructuring all existing public institutions involved in housing delivery at the federal and state government levels with a view to making them more effective and responsive to the needs of all Nigerians;
• Reviving existing laws and regulations, such as the Land Use Decree, the planning laws etc., in order to facilitate housing provision;
• Improving the finances and strengthening the executive capacity of local governments to enable them to contribute more effectively in housing delivery;
• Mobilizing private-sector participation in the provision of housing;
• Producing adequate cadastral and topographical maps to facilitate landuse planning and land administration;
• Producing and updating regional development plans and urban and rural master plans;
• Upgrading and rehabilitating low-quality or sub-standard houses in urban areas as a step towards improving the quality of the environment;
• Providing sites and services to facilitate home-ownership and orderly urban and rural development;
• Improving the quality and quantity of rural housing and infrastructure in order to enhance the quality of rural environment;
• Restructuring the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to serve as an apex housing-finance institution;
• Mobilizing savings through the establishment of a National Housing Fund (NHF);
• Ensuring a continual flow of adequate funds from various sources into the apex institution for on-lending to other mortgage institutions;
• Encouraging research into and promoting the use of locally-produced building materials as a means of reducing housing costs;
• Adoption of functional design standards to reduce costs and enhance socio-cultural acceptability, safety and security and privacy;
• Increasing the number and improving the quality of labour and other personnel needed in the housing sector;
• Utilizing the location of housing estates and other residential neighbourhoods as an instrument for a balanced population distribution in order to minimize associated problems of transport and services;
• Ensuring the preparation of a National Housing Plan to spell out the details and strategies for achieving the objectives of the Housing Policy.
1. Organization for shelter delivery
So as to achieve effective implementation, shelter strategies will need to be introduced at the national level by the Federal Government and further developed by the different governmental agencies, local authorities, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations (CBOs).
A recent significant development in Nigeria within the institutional framework is the clearer definition of the functions of, and assignment of roles to, the main public-sector actors in the shelter sector, as well as their interrelationships. Thus, the institutional framework forms the basis of the entire housing-delivery system and as such greatly influences the success of housing supply. A major factor in which the fundamental relationship between the various actors in housing delivery can be achieved is the flexibility to adjust to dynamic socio-economic and political changes, without unnecessary disruption to the system. Hence it is very desirable to centralize policy and programme control while decentralizing the activities.
The functions and roles of the various actors are specified in the new national housing policy and some of them are briefly summarized below.
2. Federal government agencies
The Federal Government is to initiate, define and coordinate the policy options and instruments for achieving the objectives in the housing sector while the actual implantation is to be undertaken by appropriate agencies at federal-, state-and local government levels. Basically, the Federal Government is to formulate policy, and coordinate, construct and monitor housing programmes and projects. The specific roles and functions of some relevant federal agencies are outlined below:
• The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing (FMW&H) is to formulate national policy on housing; articulate, coordinate and monitor housing programmes; promulgate relevant laws and regulations for the shelter sector; and generally facilitate the attainment of national shelter objectives.
• The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) was set up in 1973 to perform three principal functions, i.e., prepare proposals for national housing programmes for submission from time to time to the Federal Government; develop and manage real estates on a commercial and profitable basis throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and provide sites-and-services facilities for all income groups, with special emphasis on the low-income group in the major cities.
• The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) was - until quite recently - the sole specialized mortgage institution in Nigeria, undertaking both wholesale and retail mortgage transactions. Under the current National Housing Policy, the FMBN is assigned to play the central banking role in the mortgage-banking system. It will engage in wholesome transactions, and control the activities of the primary mortgage institutions.
3. State governments
Each state government in Nigeria is to formulate its own housing policy and execute housing programmes in line with the overall national policy. Specifically state governments are to, among other activities, perform the following functions:
• Establish appropriate agencies for shelter delivery;
• Promote the formation of housing cooperatives;
• Establish building societies and similar mortgage institutions;
• Prepare regional and settlement master plans;
• Ensure that local governments play more active roles in shelter matters;
• Promote and facilitate the development of sites-and-services schemes;
• Play an active role in the identification, production and use of building materials from local resources in order to ensure availability of cheap building materials for housing construction.
4. Local governments
In the past, local governments were not active in shelter production and delivery. Yet, it is their function under the new policy to:
• Assist in the formation of housing cooperatives;
• Determine the housing needs of the rural population;
• Provide residential layouts for low-income housing within their areas of jurisdiction;
• Provide and maintain infrastructural services to shelter;
• Be responsible for environmental sanitation;
• Upgrade and rehabilitate dilapidated houses in collaboration with the state governments.
Most of the changes and functions specified for the public-sector agencies in the new institutional framework for shelter are promotional in nature. The private sector is saddled with the greater responsibility of providing residential accommodation for the majority.
5. Private-sector participation
The formal and informal private sectors have provided over 90 per cent of the housing stock in Nigeria. In view of the past and current contribution of the private sector - and in order to increase the national housing stock substantially - this sector needs to be mobilized, organized and motivated in line with the overall organizational structure of the shelter-delivery system. For this purpose, the private sector is defined to include all financial intermediaries (both banking and nonbanking); industrial and manufacturing organizations and large commercial houses. It also includes purely private and individual investors.
The main participants and programmes in the private sector are the employees' housing schemes and the insurance companies. The employees' housing schemes were established by the Special Provisions Decree No.54 of 1979 (as amended). Under this scheme staff housing estates have been developed by United African Company of Nigeria, Union Bank of Nigeria, Elf Oil Company, Shell Oil Company, Mobil Oil etc. These schemes have been operating to an appreciable degree of success within the following stipulations:
• Every designated employer (whether corporate or unincorporated) is to submit proposals for consideration for the establishment of a housing scheme for its employees;
• Three quarters of the units so provided are to be reserved for employees who are not executive or senior staff;
• The provision of the housing scheme includes provision, on a rental basis, of separate buildings or block of flats
• The scheme is mandatory for all employers who have not less than 500 persons in their employment in any part of any state of the Federation or any part thereof.
Another arm of the private sector that has contributed to residential housing development consists of the insurance companies. This has been a result of the Decree No.59 of 1979 which made it mandatory that all insurance companies invest not more than 25 per cent of their life funds and not more than 10 per cent of its non-life funds in real estate. The provisions have since been amended by Decree No.3 (National Housing Fund Decree 1992) which states, inter alia, that, every registered insurance company shall invest a minimum of 20 per cent of its non-life funds and 40 per cent of its life funds in real property development of which not less than 50 per cent shall be paid into the fund through the FMBN. This has led to a lot of protests and the insurance community has requested further amendment of the provisions.