Stakeholders and industry experts are seeking ways to tackle the challenge of housing deficit, starting with palliative measures.
The stakeholders said it had become necessary for the government and private sector to emulate a former governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, who in his capacity as the first democratically elected governor of the state implemented policies that created about 30,000 housing units across the state within a four-year period.
A former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Osita Ogbu, stated that leadership should be about bridging the housing shortage for the benefit of majority of Nigerians.
According to him, the Land Decree Act of 1978 is meant to be a goal and happiness for all but it has turned out to be happy for the rich.
Ogbu spoke at the first Lateef Jakande Annual Lecture on Housing conveyed by the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria in conjunction with Housing Industry Stakeholders.
He said government should have business in housing and not just creating the basic infrastructure for businesses to strive but creating low-cost housing shortage.
Ogbu appealed to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to pass a law that would increase tenement rate in highbrow areas of the state such as Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Ikeja as well as increase processing fees for lottery, pools and gaming licences just the way it was done in the Jakande era.
“The proceeds should be used to develop low-cost housing units for the vast majority of the citizenry and not the affordable housing unit we all know; and be named the Jakande Act. It is time for us to promote public housing like he did,” Ogbu said.
He stated that Jakande did not just make housing affordable but created it majorly for the low and the middle earners across the state.
He said the country’s housing deficit was currently fluctuating between 17 million and 20 million annually and would be increasing yearly if positive measures were not put in place.
“Government has to provide policies and initiatives to bridge the deficit by synergising with the private sector to provide affordable housing, majorly low and medium-cost units for a rapidly expanding population and rural-urban migration,” he added.
The convener of the event, Mr. Festus Adebayo, urged the government of Lagos State to emulate Jakande and match his achievements.