The House of Representatives Committee on Housing and Habitat has decried the housing deficit in Nigeria, especially for retirees.

At the inaugural meeting of the committee in Abuja on Tuesday, the Chairman, Mr Mustapha Dawaki, said it was unfortunate that Nigerians could retire after many years of working without having their own homes.

Members of the committee, therefore, suggested amendments to relevant laws to make mortgage more accessible to low-income earners.

Dawaki said, “I believe that in the housing sector, we also have a chunk of money especially the initiative that President Muhammadu Buhari came up with; that is the National Housing Programme. Under the NHP, the first year, the appropriation was about40- something billion naira and the second year was about NN36bn. I don’t know what is proposed in this (2020) budget.“We all know that based on statistics, we have housing deficit in Nigeria. It is only in Nigeria that you see somebody has spent the whole of his life working and at the end of the day, he doesn’t have a roof over his head – he doesn’t have a house.

“So, I think it is the work of this committee to ensure that this is corrected. Even if it is the Housing Act that has a problem, then, we will need to revisit it and see how we can make some amendments to make sure that those that really sacrificed their entire life working for the country – not only them, even in the other sectors of the economy – at the end of the day should have a roof over their head; not that at the end of every year, a landlord will come and start asking them to bring money.”

Dawaki pointed out the need for the country to have a functional housing system. “Even though we have a National Housing Fund, that contribution is very insignificant,” he stated.

The lawmaker added, “That is why we need to revisit the National Housing Fund Act to ensure that what is deducted from employee as contribution and the employer’s contribution should also be a substantial amount that, at the end of the day, when you want to acquire a house from the Federal Mortgage Bank, it should be able to get you at least two or three-bedroomed flat.

“We should also use our legislative power to ensure that whatever that will bring progress to the sector should be done.”

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Ecological Fund has said there were indications that about 50 per cent of environmental crises were caused by humans.

Chairman, Committee on Ecological Fund, Ibrahim Isiaka, said based on the mantra of the 9th House, ‘Nation Building, A Joint Task,’ and the recently released Legislative Agenda of the House, the time has come for the lawmakers to reflect on the ecological challenges facing Nigeria.

At the committee’s inaugural sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, Isiaka stated that the panel, together with its counterpart in the Senate, would “strive vigorously” to work with the Executive and every other stakeholder to improve on the existing reforms, including legislative backings.