The housing deficit situation in Nigeria is a well-known fact, it needs addressing and it is obvious that only government cannot solve this challenge facing the Nigerian populace. There is need for conscious efforts by organizations and private individuals in Nigeria’s housing sector in order to overcome the challenges we currently face. Innovative methods and friendly government policies towards housing development is a must now, we all need to start working together to build a future we dream of. Actualization of this dream is what gave birth to Leisure Court Multipurpose Cooperative Society. The society is looking to help create enabling environment and also help raise capital for development in housing, businesses and other projects by the members of the society.
Definition of Multi-Purpose Cooperation Society
Housing is a basic need of every human being just as food and clothing. It is very fundamental to the welfare, survival and health of man (Fadamiro, Taiwo and Ajayi, 2004). Owning a home is one of the best ways of improving one’s standard of living and place in the society. A good home can give people physical and financial security, let them care for one another in healthy living conditions and serve as a base for the family which is the foundation of every society.
A cooperative society is multipurpose because capital raised within the society can be deployed into multiple sectors of the economy. It is an organization which is owned and operated by a group of individuals for mutual benefit. This cooperative attempts to achieve various objectives whereas other cooperatives’ objective is limited. Whenever any cooperative society is established to attain various goals such as production, purchasing, selling, credits sanction, creation and so on this cooperative is called multi-purpose cooperative society. The purpose for which these societies are set up includes; credit procurement, housing, agricultural, health, etc.
Challenges of the Nigeria Housing Sector
There are various challenges mitigating against the housing sector in Nigeria. These challenges are the main causes of serious housing deficit, which the nation has encountered through the years. The challenges include:
- Land Tenure system- There is high insecurity in the current land tenure system being operated in Nigeria. With the Land use Act vesting the title to all lands in a state, in the hands of the state Governor who holds same in trust. By this mandate, the Governor reserves the right to revoke title to any land in the state for public purpose. This Act has resulted in low investment on the part of property developers who constantly entertain fears about investing in housing.
- High Cost of Infrastructure- high cost of land infrastructure is a serious challenge to provision of housing both by the private and public sectors. This instance is further worsened if the land is located far from other building facilities. In most cases, investors and developers are required to fully bear the high investment cost of provision of water and road infrastructure to the new site. This trend will significantly affect the final price of the land and ultimately the cost of the housing unit, thus affecting the affordability of the facility.
- Bureaucracy in Government- Cumbersome Legal and Legislative frameworks for land acquisition. The housing sector faces numerous bureaucracies in the process of land acquisition and titles, such bureaucracies include availability, affordability and the ease of acquisition. For example, it may take up to four year to acquire a certificate of occupancy (C of O) from the government authorities in charge of issuing such documents.
- Taxation- Investors in the Nigerian housing sector are subjected to multiple taxation. These taxes and levies include; income tax development levy, building plan approval levy, land use tax, property tax, etc. These payments act as disincentives for existing and potential investors in growing the sector.
- Hight interest rates and Inflation- the high interest rate in Nigeria (16-24 per cent) has deterred to a large extent investment in Nigerian housing sector. High interest rates have discourage potential investors especially those within the low-and middle-income bracket from seeking mortgage loans. This has resulted in such group(s) resorting to personal savings, local thrift societies, friends, etc.
- Naira Devaluation– Devaluation of Naira at certain points in the country’s history has not impacted positively on the housing sector, due to dependence on importation of material and equipment. When the Naira is devalued, it raises the cost of imported building materials needed to stimulate the housing sector. This will ultimately affect the affordability of the housing units.
- Rural-Urban Migration/Urbanization- One of the challenges facing the housing sector is the imbalance in the distribution of the population due to rural-urban drift and rapid urbanization. The movement of people to urban centres has increased the demand for housing units in these locations. The housing deficit in Nigeria is highly observed in urban centres such as Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, etc. The main challenge facing the housing sector in this instance is the provision of adequate housing units for the teeming population in the urban centres.
- High costs of property Development- Building a house is highly expensive in Nigeria. The cost of construction is high for three reasons; high costs of building materials, high skilled labour costs, and costs associated with poor roads and sewage systems. The high costs of building materials has negatively affected the rate of building housing units in the country. The main reason for the high cost of materials is the reliance on imported goods. Most of our local building material industries are incapacitated in the operations, hence not meeting up with the demand for the products. This condition is further worsened by lack of public infrastructure such as roads, power supply. Etc.
Leisure Court Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd is the brain child of stakeholders in the Nigeria housing sector. It is set up to help reduce the rate of poverty by increasing the number of house owner or land owner in the country. Statistics shows that 60% of Nigerians are not land owners or property owners, a large percentage are also displaced. Owning a property or land acquisition serves as an asset which keeps on appreciating over the years. This cooperative society is a special type of society, which is established by Leisure Court Limited mainly to achieve progress in the housing sector and it is made multipurpose so as to also help its members raise capital for other businesses. The BOT Chairman, BLDR Segun Abolaji while addressing the first general meeting of the society pointed out that one of the purposes of this society is to help people escape poverty by empowering them through housing development and giving members support in their various businesses. The Secretary of the Society Barr. Seun Adeojo spoke about the society’s drive to cure the deficiency issue in the housing sector. He pointed out that the cooperative is also targeting empowerment for low income earners, where they can show a habit of savings towards acquiring a land or developing a land they own.
Simply speaking, we know that cooperative means to work together to improve member’s economic condition. This organization is based on “all for each and each for all” So this organization will function under the mutual cooperative of all the members. In this organization, all member will be equal and free for their rights.
OBJECTIVE OF LEISURE COURT MULTIPURPOSE COOPERATIVE SOCIETY
The objective of the society is to promote the economic interest of its member and especially;
- Any other measures designed on co-operative principles to encourage among its members the spirit and practice of saving, mutual help, self-help and facilitate severance package for members.
- To raise capital through share holdings by members in the society to undertake such other activities as are necessary for the attainment of these objects.
- Receiving shares, deposits from members and paying dividends and/or interest respectively.
- Investing some of our collective monthly contributions regularly and distributing surplus annually as dividend on prorated basis.
- To provide credit facilities to members at fair and reasonable rates of interest for provident and productive purpose.
- To engage in cassava production, processing and general agricultural activities.
- To stock quality seeds, fertilizers and agricultural chemical for sale to members and non-members at reasonable price.
- To promote modern poultry keeping by individual or on group basic and to affordable prices.
- To acquire access of land for sale or farming activities or Estate development to meet the housing needs of members or for industrial purpose as a form of investment for the economic benefit of members.
The housing sector in Nigeria is definitely overdue for different disruptions, we need new and innovative ideas to take center stage. This one of a kind idea from stakeholders at Leisure Court Limited is a step in the right direction. This cooperative has the potential to usher in new and younger generations of Nigerians into the housing sector due to the ease of access it offers. This society is definitely one to look out for and a must for everyone interested in Nigeria’s housing sector.