Nigeria’s housing deficit has thus far defied attempts by successive administrations to provide long-term solutions to it. A property boom in recent years, while benefitting the middle and upper class, has failed to extend its shading power to the larger fraction of the country’s population. And as the scramble for a solution to this problem has gone on, Nigeria continues to be peopled at a mind-blowing rate. Data from the World Bank suggests that over four million individuals were added to the country’s population between 2014 and 2015.
Today, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo hinted at a new strategy being hatched by the federal government to tackle the widening gap in housing. Mr. Osinbajo, who spoke at a business conference in Abuja, said the initiative was a financial intervention fund, consisting of contributions from local and international investors.
International news agency Reuters quotes the vice president as saying that the idea underpinning the strategy is that “any Nigerian who earns at least ₦30,000 ought to be able to own a home”. The agency also reports that the developers would be able to access the fund to build houses which low-income earners can afford. Mr. Osibanjo, however, didn’t give further details about the proposed fund, apart from a suggestion that the fund would be worth ₦ 1 trillion ($3.3 billion).
Interest rates for mortgage finance in Nigeria are typically on the high side for most people but those interest rates reflect what most investors in the mortgage sector believe are the high risks involved in staking their money on new home construction projects. A fund such as the one the Federal Government might have in the works may help provide a less costly alternative for millions of Nigerians in need of affordable housing.