AN EVALUATION OF HOUSING AFFORDABILITY FOR NIGER STATE CIVIL SERVANTS UNDER PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP) HOUSING DEVELOPMENT
Niger state government achievement in Public housing delivery for its citizen since its creation in 1976 has been very minimal–with just 3,000 houses provided for a population of 3,954,772 so far. Changing its delivery strategy from being the sole provider of housing, the government in 2007 opted for a new strategy of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) which was to provide affordable housing for all workers under a private sector driven mechanism. Since 2007, some houses have so far been allocated to the planned beneficiaries–mostly state civil servants. However, the challenge has been to ascertain how affordable the provided houses were to the state civil servants who are earning various salaries within the state’s wage system. The study conducted affordability analysis of the housing products for the various levels of civil servants allotees. Data used for the analysis were sourced from the project record files, government approved wage table and a questionnaire survey. The purposive sampling technique was employed in administering the questionnaire to a sample of 187 beneficiaries. The analysis revealed that applying the standard housing affordability yardstick of not more than 30 percent of gross household income, only civil servant allotees from level 10 to 16 can afford the 2-bedroom housing at a total cost of N1.9M and a monthly repayment amount of N10,000.00 while 3-bedroom houses were not affordable to any of the allotees at a total cost of N2.9M and a monthly repayment amount of N19,000.00.This probably explains why 44 percent were partially satisfied while 68 percent respondents stated that their dissatisfaction was due to the monthly repayment amount. The study by way of sensitivity analysis was able to recommend that if the cost of 2-bedroom house is reduced to N1.2M and mortgage repayment interest rate reduced to 3 percent for an extended period of 25 years every workers from level 1 to 16 could afford the houses in such modified scheme.
1.1 Background to the Study
Housing is an integral element of a nation‟s economy and its backward and forward linkages with other parts of the economy closely bond people‟s needs, demands and social processes. These linkages allow housing to act as an important engine for sustainable development and poverty reduction in both society and the economy, and without a functioning housing sector, urban centers cannot be established or developed. A functioning housing sector offers appropriate, affordable housing and sustainable patterns of urbanization which are critical for the future of our ever-urbanizing planet (Arias, 1993).
Public housing delivery for civil servants in Niger State started after the creation of the State in 1976 when some government quarters were constructed under the supervision of Niger State Ministry of Works, Transport and Housing. Later, Niger State Housing Corporation was created in 1979 for housing delivery in the state. However, between 1976 and 2007 less than 3,000 houses were developed by the public sector. Niger State Evolving Strategy for Sustainable Housing (NSESSH, 2007). In order to improve on this, the government of Niger State in 2007 embraced the Public Private Partnership (PPP) as an alternative strategy for her housing delivery. This was a position response to the 2nd United Nation (UN) Conference on Human settlement (HABITAT II) in Istanbul, in June, 1996 which advocated the effective and affordable mass housing delivery through Public-Private Partnership (NSESSH, 2007).