Ama Pepple, minister of lands, housing and urban development, has urged private sector developers and other stakeholders in the housing and construction industry to explore the opportunities in alternative building materials in order to deliver low-cost housing.
The minister, who made this call during an inspection of Metro City, a mix-used estate being developed by UACN Property Development Company (UPDC) plc, noted that Nigerian developers and home seekers still depended on conventional building materials.
Metro City Estate, located in the highbrow Apo – Dutse environment of the Federal Capital Territory, is to date UPDC’s largest residential estate.
The 225 housing-unit estate, which sits on 11.17 hectares of land, is a joint venture project between UPDC and African Capital Alliance.
It comprises five-bedroom detached houses, four-bedroom semi-detached houses, four bedroom terrace houses, three-bedroom bungalows, and two and three-bedroom flats.
“Our developers still depend on conventional building materials like cement, sand and block work, even when several experts have advocated use of alternative materials; they have also explained that using alternative materials is an emerging technology worldwide,” Pepple said.
Pepple insisted that there was no way the construction industry could measure up if concerted efforts were not geared towards employing and exploiting the opportunities offered by alternative materials.
According to her, Nigeria has need for mass housing as many citizens are still in great need of affordable and social housing, assuring that government is committed to making this become a reality in no distant time.
“Mr. President is committed to delivering affordable housing. This is part of the transformation agenda promised to Nigerians. We have started to deliver mass housing through the use of alternative building materials and extensive engagements with local manufacturers of building materials. We are open to partnership with private investors so that we can make this dream a reality,” she said.
The minister noted that though her ministry had been affected by circumstance of instability, it was now on ground and would ensure it delivered affordable homes.
Responding, Hakeem Ogunniran, managing director, UPDC, disclosed his firm’s plans to deliver more affordable homes through the use of alternative building materials, saying earlier that UPDC would soon unfold its plans for alternative materials, commending the minister for giving the private investors the needed support and encouragement, he said, “his company has enjoyed and would therefore, not let the government down.”