Tackling housing deficit in FCT

From ages past, man has been grappling with the issue of solving his shelter need. He does everything possible to ensure that both he and his household have a place to lay their heads after the day’s work.

Here in the Federal Capital Territory, the issue of provision of liveable houses have been one of the core agenda of various arms of government. Various house ownership programs have been introduced by successive Administrations with the aim of providing mass housing for the greater number of people. Such programs include low cost housing for lower income earners, Federal Housing Authority Mass Housing programs and recently, the Privately Developed Mass Housing projects. 

Despite these efforts, the housing deficit in the Federal Capital Territory is still very high. A survey conducted recently in the territory by a private Real Estate Consultant between 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 put the deficit to over 600,000 housing units. This simply translates to mean that majority of FCT residents are in dire need of liveable houses.

The high deficit index could be attributed to the high influx of people  from across the country to the Territory especially the Federal Capital City.

Again the relative peace and tranquillity that reigns in the Territory has made Abuja the obvious destination of choice for many Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike.

While Abuja is adjudged as the largest construction site in Nigeria today with many housing estates being developed, majority of those houses are largely lying fallow with no occupant in them. What an irony.

A survey conducted recently on the cost of renting residential houses in most districts in Abuja shows an astronomical increase in the cost. To rent houses in some choice areas like Asokoro, Asokoro Extension, Maitama, Apo, Guzape are said to cost an arm and a leg. The fees are so high that  many prospective tenants are afraid of going near such houses. The developers on the other hand are so rigid with the rental cost that they would prefer to allow the houses to lay fallow when no prospective client can meet their demand. We now have a situation where many houses are lying empty while many residents are in need of accommodation.

A peep into the arguments canvassed by most of these shylock developers as to their rigid stand in fixing rental costs that are considered as killing, calls for a total review of property development law (where such exists),  or an outright constitution of brand new laws that will protect the prospective tenants.

Most Developers are of the view that the FCT property development environment is so difficult, unfriendly and costly that only the brave could dare enter.

They opined that the Federal Capital Territory Administration should come up with laws that would control property development, rent fixing, terms of payment, property recovery and punishment to rent defaulters.

Following Abuja Digest recent opinion that the Administration should swiftly intervene to instil order and direction in the property development sector of its economy, the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello invited stakeholders in the sector to a meeting where he informed the gathering that henceforth the FCTA would only give housing estate lands to people with capacity, urging the stakeholders to partner with others in redesigning already completed ones for affordability.

Since then, the process of land procurement and securing of land titles, building plan approvals, granting of building permits, inspection of the development at the sites by the FCTA officials have been made more investment friendly. These multiple effects of these friendly policies are beginning to trickle down to an affordable rental costs and an increased number of housing delivery in the Territory.