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Understanding Dangiwa’s bold housing and urban development action plan

Understanding Dangiwa’s bold housing and urban development action plan

Architect Ahmed Musa Dangiwa has taken bold and transformative steps, placing him on a course to justify the confidence of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR and the optimism and expectations of stakeholders in the housing industry since his appointment as the Honorable Minister of Housing and Urban Development. At various forums and events, Dangiwa has been consistently clear, focused, and visionary in outlining the strategic and targeted plans of the Ministry under his leadership for housing and urban development.

These plans encompass several key initiatives. They involve implementing land reforms to streamline land administration and enhancing the institutional capacity of federal government agencies such as the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA). Furthermore, they include increasing housing supply through a multi-agency delivery mechanism, initiating new city developments via Renewed Hope Cities and Estates, and launching a nationwide urban renewal and slum upgrading program. Other initiatives are the establishment of building materials manufacturing hubs one in each of the six (6) regions to reduce imports, generate employment opportunities, enhance affordability in housing delivery, and the creation of a National Social Housing Fund (NHSF) to facilitate access to decent shelter for low-income, NO Income, and vulnerable groups.

In this series, our objective is to provide a detailed analysis of each of these plans, commencing with an in-depth exploration of the new city development and the national urban renewal and slum upgrade program.

Read also: Dangiwa sees turnaround for housing sector under Tinubu’s leadership

New city development

Under this plan, the Minister aims to lead partnerships with the private sector, and local and international investors, towards redefining the concept of cities in Nigeria and decongesting city centres and state capitals. The first phase of the New City Development Plan aims to deliver Renewed Hope Cities ranging from 1,000 housing units per site in one location in each of the six geo-political zones of the country and FCT namely: Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Borno, Nasarawa, Rivers, and Enugu States, while the remaining thirty (30) States will have Renewed Hope Estates each with a minimum of 500 housing units.

The Renewed Hope Cities will prioritize inclusivity by featuring Multi-Level Flats catering to low to medium-income earners, Terrace and Detached Bungalows, and Duplexes tailored for high-income earners. Conversely, the Renewed Hope Estates will offer 1, 2, and 3-bedroom affordable bungalows.

Overall, the Ministry aims to deliver a total of 34,500 homes in phase 1, funded by a mix of sponsors including the budgetary allocation of the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), and through Public-Private Partnerships with reputable developers.

With an estimated creation of 25 jobs per unit, the first phase of the project is projected to generate both direct and indirect employment, totalling 862,500 jobs, thereby contributing to the Renewed Hope Vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.

To ensure the affordability and prompt uptake of these houses by Nigerians, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, led by Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa has outlined a diverse mix of ownership options for potential beneficiaries:

Firstly, mortgage loans will be offered. For low-income earners, the Ministry intends to promote the adoption of the range of affordable housing products provided by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN). This will enable beneficiaries to access single mortgage loans payable over 30 years using the FMBN NHF Mortgage loan window.

For high-income earners seeking homes beyond the scope offered by the FMBN, the Ministry plans to promote the use of alternative homeownership options provided by the Primary Mortgage Banks and the mechanisms of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC). This approach will facilitate access to home loans at commercial rates for these beneficiaries.

Another option available to potential beneficiaries is Rent-to-Own. This FMBN product allows beneficiaries to move into the Bank’s funded properties without making an equity payment. They can then make payments in monthly, quarterly, or annual instalments towards ownership. The payback period extends to a maximum of 30 years, depending on age or years in service, at a single-digit interest rate of 7 percent.

Read also: Here’s what Dangiwa plans to do in quest for credible housing data

With this broad mix of affordability options, individuals within the low- and medium-income brackets as well as high-income earners will have a wide array of convenient homeownership choices available to them.

For sustainability, Arc. Dangiwa is spearheading engagements with State Governments and relevant Ministries to ensure speedy access to land in good and viable locations with verifiable demand and adequate infrastructure for the Renewed Hope & Estates project sites. He has already written letters to all State Governments, requesting a minimum of 50 hectares of land either as a contiguous plot or a split of 25 hectares in two locations for establishing the estates, as part of their contribution to affordable housing delivery for their citizens.

The Minister has emphasized the necessity for land for planned project sites to be in accessible locations, and State Governments must commit to providing the requisite infrastructure to make the estates appealing to potential owners.

Discussions are also underway with the Federal Ministry of Works, Transportation, FCT, and Power to guarantee easy and cost-effective infrastructure access and transportation links for the Renewed Hope Cities and Estates to the main city centres through roads or rail networks, aiming to reduce commuting time and open the places up to decongest city centres.

A zero-tolerance policy for abandoned housing projects

In addition to the Renewed Hope Cities and Estates, the Honorable Minister of Housing and Urban Development has devised a Zero Tolerance Policy for Abandoned Projects. Under this policy, Arc. Dangiwa aims to ensure the completion of all housing projects initiated by the Ministry and agencies under its supervision. This encompasses projects under the Ministry’s National Housing Programme (NHP), the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA).

Given the backdrop of high inflationary trends and the rising cost of building materials, the Honorable Minister has established a Task Team within the Ministry to review contracts for all unfinished NHP housing projects. The objective is to redefine the scope of these projects in order to reduce the required costs for completion. Another aspect of this review involves evaluating the technical and financial capabilities of the contractors, intending to potentially cancel contracts and re-award them to more competent and reputable developers.

The Minister is also cognizant of completed projects situated in inaccessible locations. Recognizing the lack of proper diligence, pre-project housing demand mapping, and proactive plans for access and infrastructure to ensure swift uptake of projects upon completion, he is exploring a range of options to safeguard government investment. These measures include engaging relevant States where the projects are situated to provide access roads, electricity, and infrastructure, as well as considering bulk sales to government entities, among others. The overarching goal is to recover as much as possible from the multi-billion-naira investment into the National Housing Programme, redirecting these funds into other more strategic and affordable housing projects.

Read also: UK firm celebrates Architect Ahmed Musa Dangiwa: A visionary leader pioneering urban development

Nationwide urban renewal and slum upgrading program

The Honorable Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa acknowledges that, like many developing economies, Nigeria faces challenges in providing decent and affordable housing for its citizens. He recognizes the country’s dual challenge of insufficient housing supply to meet its burgeoning population growth and the prevalence of sub-standard housing, failing to meet the conditions of habitability, safety, security, comfort, sanitation, accessibility, infrastructure, social amenities, and socio-cultural adequacy as outlined by the United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO).

According to PwC analysis in 2019, 75.00% (31.60 million) of the 42.00 million housing units in Nigeria were deemed sub-standard. Addressing Nigeria’s housing challenge therefore requires a combination of urban renewal or housing upgrade initiatives and the construction of new homes to meet the growing population’s needs.

Aligned with this perspective, Arc. Dangiwa has proposed an ambitious plan to initiate a Nationwide Urban Renewal and Slum Upgrading Program. The goal is to enhance living conditions in Nigeria’s urban areas, transforming informal settlements into integrated, vibrant neighbourhoods equipped with essential services, thereby curbing the proliferation of slums.

In the program’s initial phase, the Ministry aims to upgrade a total of 26 slums across the country’s six regions, including the Federal Capital Territory. This initiative intends to provide vital infrastructure and supplementary services such as access roads, water supply, solar streetlights, drainage systems, sanitation, waste management services, and more. These improvements aim to enhance the living standards of slum residents in the project sites and uplift the urban poor in general.

Read also: Dangiwa lists access to land, affordable housing as top priorities

The Dangiwa blended housing and urban development financing plan

Funding these projects will undoubtedly require a substantial financial commitment, involving hundreds of billions of naira. This necessity is amplified by the current high inflationary trends, which have significantly increased the cost of building materials, consequently elevating the expenses associated with housing delivery. To illustrate, even with an estimated rough average of N10 million per unit for the 34,500 homes planned in phase 1 of the Renewed Hope Cities and Estates, it will amount to approximately N345 billion to deliver these units. The various house types, each with different pricing, include multi-level flats catering to low to medium-income earners, terrace/detached bungalows and duplexes for high-income earners, and bungalows for low-income earners. This underlines the importance of the Minister’s inclusive and integrated approach, which aims to introduce cross-subsidies to enhance affordability for low- and medium-income earners.

Specifically, these options include increased budgetary allocations, fostering Public-Private Partnerships, and optimizing the financial capacities of agencies under the Ministry to sponsor a significant portion of these projects.

On the budgetary front, Arc. Dangiwa has already secured a major win to kickstart the Renewed Hope Cities/Estates and the National Urban Renewal and Slum Upgrading Program. Recently the Hon. Minister facilitated the inclusion of N100 billion in the 2023 Supplementary budget, recently passed and signed into law by His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR. Preliminary works are underway, and the Honorable Minister intends to commence the projects before the end of the year.

Additionally, the Honorable Minister aims to maximize existing partnerships with international development finance institutions to bolster the pool of resources available to drive his agenda for housing and urban development. To this end, he has conducted preliminary meetings with delegations from the World Bank Group, the International Finance Corporation, the UN-Habitat, and the Shelter Afrique Development Bank, where he currently holds the position of AGM Bureau Chief. Following these meetings, the Honorable Minister has established a Ministerial Technical Taskforce with a mandate to develop actionable frameworks that would lead to the signing of strategic financial and technical partnership agreements with these international development finance institutions.

“These international financial institutions are vital sources of financial and technical assistance in our pursuit to realize Mr President’s Renewed Hope Agenda. Ensuring their expansion, maximization, and leveraging in ways not done before to successfully implement the Ministry’s Action Plan is a TOP PRIORITY of my administration,” he emphasized.

With every action, every meeting and engagement, the Hon. Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc Ahmed Musa Dangiwa is showing uncommon commitment to actualizing the Renewed Hope Vision for housing and urban Development. He deserves the support of local and international stakeholders who are committed to driving affordable housing delivery and sustainable urban development.

Chieshe, special assistant to the Hon. Minister of Housing and Urban Development. [email protected]