• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

FG mulls housing sector growth with human capital development

Lagos-homesAs part of efforts to grow the housing sector, deliver quality housing to Nigerians and halt capital flight in the sector, the Federal Government has come out with initiatives aimed at producing building professionals and artisans who are, at the moment, scarce and quite expensive in the country.

The government says it is worried with the dearth of skilled artisans and craftsmen in the housing and urban development sector, more so as they constitute an important component of the value chain in housing delivery.

“At present, most of the skilled artisans and craftsmen operating in the country are foreigners”, Akon Eyakenyi, the Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, noted in Abuja recently.

The minister who spoke at the on-going Ministerial Platform organized by the Federal Ministry of Information, disclosed that in order to develop the needed skill for the sector, the Federal Government has opened discussions with the National Home Builders Association in the United States of America with a view to jointly conducting Construction Skills Training Programme.

The programme, which she described as Train-the-trainer, would commence from the first quarter of next year to improve the skills and competences of professionals, artisans and craftsmen in the country’s housing and urban development sector.

“More-over, a School of Architectural and Building Technicians is being established in Kuje,and will be fully equipped with time”, the minister added, revealing that efforts were being made to establish six more skills acquisition centres with the support of SURE-P, and to review the curricula for artisanal and vocational training in conjunction with relevant institutions.

Earlier in an Interview with BusinessDay, Obi Nwogugu, Head, real estate investment unit in Capital Alliance, had noted that skilled labour was a big challenge in the housing sector, explaining that it was difficult to get skilled artisans such as bricklayers and even tiling professionals who would deliver quality product with strict adherence to specifications.

“Getting highly skilled labour that will deliver quality product at the right time and budget is a huge challenge for the sector; and this underscores the need for relevant stakeholders to undertake this”, he said.

Mustapha Njie, the CEO, Rivtaf Nigeria Homes Limited, shares this view, disclosing that most of the skilled artisans working on their 750 housing unit Golf Estate in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, are from neighbouring West African countries particularly Ghana and Togo.

“On site here are bricklayers and tilers from Togo and at a point we had to go back to my home country The Gambia to get builders who understand the kind of building model we are using here; these people drove for four days to get to Nigeria”, he said, disclosing that within the site, they also organize training session for the local artisans in order to take them along.