• Friday, June 21, 2024
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  FG’s reviewed housing policy to provide affordable accommodation to Nigerians- Fashola

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The minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Monday said that a review and modification of some methods used to implement the national housing policy is necessary in reducing the housing deficit in Nigeria.

Fashola stated this while speaking during the affordable housing summit at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.

“The results do not convince us that this is the only way to continue,” the minister reiterated, while calling for modification of the present approaches at mass housing provision adopted by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), as well as public private partnership (PPP) initiatives through Development Lease Agreements (DLAs).

 This, according to him, will help to diversify our economy, grow SMEs and local capacity, evolve into something that is sustainable in the sense that the majority of Nigerians can benefit from, by getting them on the housing ladder, and also benefit any of them employed in the process.

 “Our internal reappraisal reveals that since inception, FHA has built about 40,000 housing units in approximately 40 year,” Fashola lamented.

He however assured that the DLAs and PPPs, under the Construction Finance Initiative, target to delivery 21,008 housing units with a current delivery rate of 2,750 completed units over a decade.

 The appraisal by the ministry shows that different designs of houses originated by different contractors do not readily accord with national market needs and are therefore not attractive or affordable by the off-taking public.

Housing initiatives in the past were also shown to be limited in national acceptability due to the single design concept and for not taking the nation’s cultural diversity into consideration.

Fashola further explained that emerging contemporary issues of climate change, energy conservation necessities, and collaboration with development partners, such as the German Development Corporation (GIZ), strengthened the need to change building habits and methods for energy efficiency and sustainability.

 The work with GIZ resulted in the development of guidelines for energy efficiency in buildings that were launched on June 16, 2016, thereby reducing hundreds of different housing designs in a year to only 12 standard designs.

These include six designs of one bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom flats, bungalows and condominiums that will represent the Nigerian House which responds to our cultural diversity.

The chosen designs come with standardized fittings such as doors, windows, tiles, roof boards and other accessories to be produced by local manufacturers in support of local industries, SMEs in pursuit of economic diversification and job creation.

“We will start with the traditional methods of construction known to our people so that bricklayers, painters, welders, carpenters and other artisans can find opportunities for inclusion and employment,” Fashola assured.

He said the current methods of building are slow but that technology will be embraced in developing quicker methods of building and training Nigerians to adapt and adopt them due to the need to produce en masse to reduce the housing deficit.

The beneficiaries being targeted for the housing scheme are people within levels 10 to 15/16 in the public service and those in the private sector, such as drivers, farmers, market men and women, artisans who earn a similar income.

According to Fashola, “we cannot speak of national transparency if a large number of our people pay one or two years advance rent, when they receive salaries in arrears monthly.”

This, he said, is one of the reasons why many houses are empty, because of the advanced payment, and not only because of the huge rate of rent.

However, in accordance with global best practice, mortgages are the way to go in order to reduce corruption and encourage productivity, the minister observed, stressing further that “our housing must be tied to our income, which must be tied to our jobs as a way of creating credit that our housing industry desperately needs.”

In order to drive this vision to success, the ministry of finance will act as our consultant for deepening access to capital for housing construction and supply, and also the financing of acquisition, Fashola assured.