March 26, 2012

Minister restates commitment to low-cost housing policy

By Yinka Kolawole
Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama Pepple, has reiterated her commitment to the provision of low-cost housing for the teeming populace of the country.

Pepple said in a bid to accomplish this, the housing ministry had commenced discussion with state governments with a view to making land available for the construction of low-cost housing units across the states of the federation.

The minister was speaking at the 2nd National Housing Exhibition organised by Aso Savings & Loans Plc recently in Abuja. According to her, high cost of land acquisition and building materials are responsible for the difficulties in achieving low-cost housing in the country.

“The challenge of providing affordable houses to our teeming population has continued to engage the attention of this administration. We have re-energised and re-focused but we do have challenges relating to cost of land, cost of building materials and the cost of interest on mortgages that make it difficult for houses to be cheaper than what they are today.

But we are determined to bring the cost of housing down, that is why the ministry is trying to work with the state governors to make lands available to the ministry for housing projects and if possible provide infrastructure for us so that with the two things, we would have taken off the cost of lands and infrastructure which will further reduce the cost of houses,” Pepple stated.

She remarked that the ministry is currently discussing the possibility of conducting a housing census with a firm with a view to having accurate data on the nation’s housing deficit.

Pepple commended the organisers of the exhibition, noting that it provided an avenue for stakeholders in the housing sector to come together to fashion out a way forward for the sector. She seized the opportunity to solicit the support of property developers and financiers on the provision of quality and affordable houses for Nigerians.

“The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development is ready to work with stakeholders in the industry to provide Nigerian with affordable but quality houses; we recognise the enormous challenges the industry is facing, but that  should not stop us from providing the necessary and enabling environment for property developers,” she said.

The minister vowed not to commission any estate project with less than 500 housing units, saying that is necessary if meaningful contributions towards reducing the nation’s huge housing deficit are to be achieved.

Earlier in his address, Managing Director, Aso Savings & Loans, Mr. Hassan Usman, noted that the exhibition “is a forum where all stakeholders involved in the housing market can convene; this includes estate developers, building materials suppliers, architects, interior decorators etc.

The exhibitors get to showcase the very latest products and services from their respective industries to the general public, who are interested in learning about the latest goods and services for their home and business from all over Nigeria – all under one roof”.