New Telegraph

Fashola dismisses claims of 17m housing deficit in Nigeria

…proposes regulation of rent

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has dismissed claims that the nation has a shortage of 17 million houses saying that such figure could not be scientifically proven. The minister gave this assertion Thursday at a briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team in the Presidential Villa.

The minister, who gave an overview of his achievements in the ministry with pictorial presentation of projects, including ongoing and completed roads and bridges, across the country, said the government was yet to have a reliable data on housing deficit.

He pointed out that the rural-urban migration gave the false impression of housing shortages insisting that there was no where in the world where houses have been made adequate for all citizens. According to him, while there are no shortage of housing in the rural areas, there are lots of empty, uninhabited buildings in the urban areas. He added that a country like Nigeria, with unoccupied houses in every city, could not be classified as having housing deficits. Fashola said the actual housing reality of the country could only be ascertained after an official census has been conducted.

He said: “Nigeria’s housing problems is the direct result of rural urban migration which has created a system of demand and supply problem in urban centers. “It is illogical to say we have that housing deficit when you have empty houses. No such deficit exist anywhere in the world.” The minister said he attempted to investigate the source of the 17 million housing deficit claim by consulting with international organisations, including the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDP) and confirmed that the reports were not authentic. “We are not in a housing crises and this is the subject of a full discussion.

My take is that the housing shortages, essentially, in all parts of the world, are in the urban centers and not in the rural areas. So, it is a problem that has come as a result of urbanization. People move from rural to urban centers and create a supply and demand problem. “You will find that many of the people in urban centers like Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Abeokuta, etc, seeking to squat with somebody or trying to rent a house, have an empty home in his village. “In the urban center again , you will see that there are still empty houses. We have to discuss housing on two paradigms of ownership and rentals, because no nation provide free housing for its citizens.”

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