By Ebitonye Akpodigha
The Federal Government has been urged to facilitate an environment conducive for investors in the housing sector in Nigeria.
This was the observation of the Lead Financial Sector Specialist, Finance and Markets of World Bank Group, Mr Simon Wally.
Speaking at the 32nd Annual Conference and General Meeting of the African Union for Housing Financing (AUHF) in partnership with Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) in Abuja on Wednesday, Mr Wally noted that Nigeria needed to boost housing development.
“You do not need capital from outside of Nigeria, looking at the level of investment required; Nigerian has got more than enough capital within the country.
“Investors want to put their money into investment and housing is perfect; in that sense, long term investment is what investors are looking for.
“The country needs the right mechanism, tools and methods for turning that domestic naira investments into housing, and that needs to be done on a very large scale,” the World Bank chief said.
According to him, “The country is looking at housing needs in excess of over 150 to 200 housing units per year just to keep up with the demand.
“The problem is that the number of housing needed has not been produced at the moment for Nigeria and other countries and the result of that is informal housing or slums.”
The three-day conference themed ‘Housing and Africa’s Growth Agenda’ was organised by Fesadeb Communications Ltd, convener of Annual Abuja Housing Show and producer of Housing programmes on television.
In his own submission, Chief Executive Officer of NMRC, Prof. Charles Inangete, explained that housing was paramount to the national economy, adding that Nigeria had an outdated housing data.
“We are still talking of 17 million housing deficit, a data which was created four years ago; we need more current data in order to make housing policy more relevant,” he said.
Also, Mr Thierno-Habib Hann, Senior Housing Finance Regional Lead, International Finance Corporation (IFC), in a presentation, said housing finance could be expanded by making mortgage markets affordable.