By Yinka Kolawole
The Federal Government has reiterated its readiness to enter into partnership with private investors on housing development in Nigeria.
Minister of Lands Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Nduese Essien, noted that as soon as the ministry was carved out of the then ministry of works and housing by President Goodluck Jonathan, in recognition of the importance of housing to the nation’s economic development, a template for effective delivery of mass housing was created, with full involvement of the private sector.
Essien was speaking at the stakeholders’ forum on the development of three million housing units for public servants in conjunction with a private developer in Abuja. He disclosed that measures are being put in place by the ministry to address the daunting problem of housing facing Nigerians.
“We have worked conscientiously to develop templates for effective delivery of mass housing for our people. Currently, we are on the verge of inviting the 135, which were pre_qualified, to make technical presentation to the Ministry before allocating lands for them to start building under our mass housing programme.
As part of measures to address the daunting housing challenge for our public servants, we have evolved a partnership with Orient Property Development Company Limited, to address three million housing units all over the country. He said a committee of experts in the ministry having been meeting with the developer to develop a workable template for the delivery of the project of providing the three million houses through partnership.
“I am happy to tell Nigerians that we are on the part of implementing one of the most ambitious housing programmes ever conceived by any administration in the country. Before long, we will begin to deliver affordable, decent and quality houses for the people based on partnership that is tactfully conceived, carefully designed and to be decisively pursued for the good of our generation and generations to come,” he stated.
The minister who was represented at the occasion by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Anthony Ozodinobi, asserted that the ministry would continue to consult and work closely with different tiers of the government, communities, contractors, regulators, and other stakeholders.
He noted that to achieve the goal of providing housing for the generality of Nigerians, the venture requires a new approach, a paradigm shift beyond just housing development. “It is about homes. It is not just about a change of name from housing to human settlements; it is about a change of mind-set, taking us from a new concept to concrete reality,” he said.