By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Federal Government and the Lagos State Government have initiated move to harness potentials in the housing sector towards cushioning the strains in the economy.
The duo disclosed this, Monday, at the 10th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, held in Ikeja, Lagos.
The council, is the highest policy advisory organ on the housing sector in the country.
Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, O. B. Ode-Martins, said the 10th conference would be optimised to gather submissions to form the bases for policies towards optimising opportunities in the sector for economic revitalisation.
Ode-Martins, said the council would be coming up with inferences drawn from the deliberations, which according to him, would be instrumental for policy making towards vitalising and repositioning the sector for economic development.
In his submission, the Chairman, Local Organising Committee on the 10th Meeting and Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Housing, Mr. Wasiu Akewusola, asserted that the housing sector holds huge potentials for job creation.
“Directly or indirectly, job is being created through the construction of houses any where in the world. That is how the economy is stimulated. When we put more money in the housing sector, you will create more jobs certainly,” he stated.
Akewusola said the meeting was conceived against the backdrop of several economic challenges of joblessness and social explosion, coupled with the pandemic COVID-19, demanding intervention to mitigate the challenges.
According to him, the conference would brainstorm on how the economy can be “revitalised through accelerated and inclusive housing development.”
Akewusola stressed that the potentials of the sector hold deep opportunities to contribute to the task of revamping the economy.
Speaking, the Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Housing, Mrs. Adeola Salako, said the state has committed much investment into reducing the challenge of housing deficits in the State borne by the teeming population and limited land space.
According to her, with the concerted efforts of the Ministry and relevant agencies including the Lagos State Mortgage Board and the Lagos State Development and
Property Corporation (LSDPC), the State Government has been working assiduously to ensure the provision of affordable homes to reduce the gap of the deficits.
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Salako disclosed that soon a number of housing schemes including the awaited Igbese 480 units bedroom apartment of various suits, over 770 units of homes in Sangotedo; and another 3,500 units of two bedroom flats, were undergoing completion to add to the existing schemes across the State.
She further mentioned that the state government is committed to regulatory measures to ensure unsuspecting citizens are not cheated by mischievous practitioners in the real estate sector – a development she said necessitated the establishment of the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority to guide against quackery in the State.
The National President, Town-Planners’ Association of Nigeria, and former Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Tpl. Olutoyin Ayinde, said it was important for government at all levels to plan towards developing the housing sector, arguing that “If we do not plan, we would perish.”
According to him, the increasing economic demands on the limited land space in the Country amidst population explosion, call for strategic planning.
“Our land resources are not increasing; they are fixed, but our population is increasing, and as they are increasing, there is demand for the lands; there is demand for agriculture, for housing, for commercial areas; there is demand for animal husbandry, and all of these things can only work out when you plan,” Ayinde stated.
He maintained that when government refuse to invest in preparations of plans and implementation of those plans, there would be challenges for the economy.
“I believe this is one of the necessary conversations that we must continue to have because Nigeria is yet to be at the level it is supposed to be in terms of housing.
“There has been controversies for example on whether we have housing deficits or not, but the truth is when you see people sleeping on roads and under the bridges you definitely know that we have housing deficits.
“I think it is an opportunity for us to begin to rethink our housing policies and our planning. It is only when we think these things through and we commit ourselves to it that we are able to become better in terms of housing provision,” he said.
Speaking on the use of alternative energy technologies in the Housing sector, the Representative, Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), Edina Okodi-Iyah, spoke on the need for adopting alternative energy sources for efficiency systems in new building designs which according to her is veritable to facilitate energy consumption efficiency.
Larfarge Representative, Engr. Femi Yusuf, said the challenges of using traditional patterns for building houses have been contributory to the problems of housing in the Country, stressing that the speed and finishing quality of structures could be vitalised by newer technologies.
According to him, newer building technologies permit flexibility, speed, sustainability and efficiency which could facilitate building structures for as fast as the space of 18-hours.