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Council tasks government on public rental housing, urban renewal

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Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

The government has been called upon once again to cast its eyes more determinedly at the housing sector, especially on mass housing provision for its teeming low-income sector.The council, which made the call, urged the government to invest in a deliberate capacity development drive for professionals, artisans and tradesmen in the built environment as well as revive or set up sustainable vocational training centres in the industry.

Delegates that attended the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development advised government to conduct a needs assessment to determine the design of houses required by Nigerians as well as the evolvement of new plans and policies for the implementation of social housing and public rental housing.They equally want the authorities to ensure compliance with the provisions for understudies in the expatriate quota guidelines which require that two Nigerians must be attached as understudies to every expatriate with a view to taking over from him within 10 years, after which his expatriate quota will not be renewed.

The council, in a communiqué issued at the end of its annual meeting held in Ilorin, Kwara State recently, equally noted that progress in the sector could only be achieved through the provision of free, unencumbered land for mass housing projects. The body has thus set January 1, 2017 as commencement date for the adoption of Exchange of Letters for the transfer of interest in land between Federal and state governments.

The council also requested the various tiers of government in the country to underwrite the cost of infrastructure through mortgage discount financing in partnership with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).The communiqué stated: “The relevant bodies should waive registration fees for mass housing projects, to reduce the selling prices of such houses and enhance their mortgage affordability.

Also,government at all levels should embark on sustainable training and capacity building of professionals, artisans and tradesmen in the built environment.“With a view to developing adequate capacity of professionals, artisans and tradesmen in the built environment, all tiers of government should be encouraged to revive or set up sustainable vocational training centres in the industry. Also, the attention of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) should be drawn to ensure compliances with the provisions for understudies in the expatriate quota guidelines, which require that two Nigerians must be attached for understudies to every expatriate with a view to taking over from him within 10 years after which his expatriate quota will not be renewed.

Announcing the approval for use of the recently launched Building Efficiency Guide for Nigeria by all relevant stakeholders in the nation’s building industry, the body urged the Federal Government to commit to projects towards up scaling its urban renewal and slum upgrading programmes. The conduct of sensitization and education
programmes at different levels of government on the activities of Shelter-Afrique in order to benefit from its services was also emphasised.

They also advised government on the need for an affordable mix of housing schemes through the public private partnership initiative in the country, while Local governments and corporate bodies, which had withdrawn from the National Housing Fund (NHF) should return to facilitate their access to the fund and home renovation loans.

The communiqué stressed other issues including:  A comprehensive physical development plan for the redevelopment of areas devastated by natural and man-made causes in order to improve the livability and sustainability of such areas.The review of the existing urban and regional planning laws to make them more responsive to new threats to urban lives such as crime, climate change and high energy demand.

A follow- up process to a law enforcing compliance with the provisions of the National Building Code by the National Assembly to be domesticated by the Houses of Assembly of the various states; relevant agencies that offer rebates and incentives should be requested to grant incentives for solar panels and solar hot water
systems in residential and commercial building projects;On urban development, the council approved that states and local governments be encouraged to vigorously implement the existing urban and regional planning laws.



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