By Kingsley Adegboye
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has revealed how the federal government intends to solve Nigeria’s 17 million housing need, disclosing that in 2017, the government plans to build more houses to stimulate jobs.
Fashola who made this known at a press conference as part of activities to mark his one year in office, added that the government equally plans to assess the affordability and the acceptability of the designs of the houses to be built, just as the government plans to industrialize the production of the most affordable and acceptable designs.
According to the minister who listed the gains and achievements of the ministry under his watch in the past one year, further noted that “We will then increase supply using private sector as developers while government will then concentrate on strengthening institutions like the Federal Mortgage Bank to deliver on its core mandate of providing mortgages to workers to own their homes.
“It is my belief that if we can achieve this, the size of our housing deficit will not appear that daunting again, because it will be a system that can respond every year, instead of once in a while, to repeat housing construction, delivery and acquisition.
“How much we can then deliver will be defined by the size of our resources and our ambition, and not by the absence of a workable plan. We have identified inputs like doors, windows, tiles, paint, roofing materials that can be made locally and we have resolved to use only made in Nigeria inputs unless there is no local production capacity.
“We have done some inventory of quantities of materials needed in order to provide investment information for local manufacturers to position to respond and supply in order to create employment and get factories back to work. While our planning and research continues, the above is at least indicative of the kind of attention and dedication we are demanding of our staff and the response we are getting.
At another forum earlier, Fashola had disclosed that changes will be made to the relevant policies and budget under the current administration in order to make housing provision a reality in Nigeria, pointing out that the housing sector presents an enormous opportunity for positively impacting the economy to promote not only growth but inclusion.
He said “There have been a couple of National Housing policies and we intend to appraise the most current one to make changes only if necessary. Government will lead the aggressive intervention to increase supply, by undertaking construction of public housing and formulate policies that will invariably lead to private sector participation and ownership to reduce our housing deficit.”
He also announced that the model of ‘Jakande and Shagari’s housing estates will be studied in order to develop affordable housing units, with the help of the governors.
According to the minister,”If we achieve this, we will move from where we are now, start construction in all 36 States and the FCT and sustain this as we go along. In the housing sector, if we complete our on-going projects, and we get land from the governors in all states and the FCT to start what we know, using the Lagos Home model, we should start 40 blocks of housing in each state and FCT.
“We expect State Governors to play a critical role here, by providing land of between 5-10 hectares for a start, with title documents, and access roads or in lieu of access roads, a commitment that they will build the access roads by the time the houses are completed.”
“We have not yet started constructing houses. But tenders have been considered and over 500 contracts are now ready to be issued for work to start in earnest. However, we have received land from 27 states as at 24th October and more are still responding.
“We have completed simple designs of one, two and three-bedroom bungalows for the northern states to respond to the cultural, climatic and land use peculiarities. We have completed simple designs of one, two and three bedroom blocks of Flats for Southern states also in response to similar peculiarities”, Fashola revealed.