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12 states pledge land for government’s new housing initiative

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
06 June 2016   |   3:48 am
At least, 12 states have responded to a request by the Federal Government to release landed property to her on, which the latter intends to construct affordable homes for Nigerians...
Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

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

At least, 12 states have responded to a request by the Federal Government to release landed property to her on, which the latter intends to construct affordable homes for Nigerians, and thereby reducing the wide deficit gap of shelter in the country.

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, last week in Abuja, revealed that the plan by the government to create more affordable homes for her citizens was gathering momentum as more states have indicated interest.

According to the Minister, who spoke at the 35th Annual General Meeting and International Symposium of Shelter Afrique, even though states were already responding positively to the government’s initiative, the first key to the roadmap in housing was planning.

The Minister, who noted that what the country now has as a National Housing Policy was only a policy statement and not a plan, said, “We must never be tired to explain the necessity and importance of proper planning. It is the key to successful execution; it is the key to project completion; it is the key to cost control and reduction in variation requests and financial calculations”.

Furthermore, on the plans of his Ministry, Fashola, who explained that the plan requires “a clear understanding of who we want to provide housing for”, added, “I recognize that there are people who want land to build for themselves; there are also people who want town houses and duplexes, whether detached or semi-detached”, pointing out that this category of people were not in the majority.

According to him, “The people who we must focus on are those in the majority and those who are most vulnerable; the people who are in the bracket of those who graduated from University about five years ago and more. People who are in the income bracket of grade level 9 to 15 in the public service and their counterparts, taxi drivers, market men and women, farmers, artisans who earn the same range of income”.

Expressing pleasure that a lot of work has been done by staff of the Ministry towards concluding the plans, Fashola, who also acknowledged the voluntary contribution of some private sector to the initiatives, announced that 12 states have responded to the request for land, adding that while more responses are being awaited, the Ministry was taking the next step to survey the plots of land and develop layouts, preparatory to commencing development.

Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari said there was need to evolve a consolidated strategy that would assist national governments across Africa develop robust systems to deliver affordable housing to low income on a sustainable basis.

He observed that African region is experiencing the worlds highest rate of urban expansion and faces myriads of problem adding that the United Nations projections indicate that Africa will be 50 percent urban by 2035 and that this will rise further to 60 percent by 2050 If the present growth trend continues.

Meanwhile, Africa would require an additional 532 million units across the continent by 2030.While calling on experts to seek fresh strategies to house Africa’s low-income earners, the president assured that his administration deploy available resources into the key sectors of the economy to place Nigeria on the path of continuous growth and development.

Represented by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Alhaji Musa Bello, the president urged African leaders to explore the capacity of Examplar Housing to produce affordable housing through flexible off-takers financing solutions, sustainable environmental friendliness, observed that his administration in recognition of the catalytic development potentials of the housing sector has earmarked about N40billion in 2016 budget to implement a comprehensive programme in Nigeria.

In his address, the Managing Director, Shelter Afrique, Mr James Mugerwa said that the UN-Habitat estimates, half of humanity, a total of 3.5b already live in cities, by 2030.

He noted that almost 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas and that 95 per cent of urban expansion in the next decades will take place in developing world, most of it right here in Africa.

Mugerwa observed that Africa would require an additional 532 million units across the continent by 2030. He pointed out that the UN Habitat estimates 828 million people live in slums today and the number keeps rising adding that the challenge now is, and indeed has always been, how to create decent, affordable housing for all while also battling with unprecedented urbanisation rates.

Mugerwa observed that in 2015 an estimated 1773 houses were financed by new approvals, additionally we also created 1164 mortgages from new approvals and lines of credit, stressing that if the trend continues, over the new strategy cycle, Shelter Afrique will produce at least 10683 houses and 6984 mortgages.

He revealed that from 2005-2010, Shelter Afrique financed and commissioned projects worth over $50M dollars in Nigeria. Additionally, “I am happy to announce the recent signing of a $9.1m dollars facility to Afro Asia Shelters International for 300 units and related infrastructure in Jibi, Niger State. We view this as a hallmark project, precisely because the end product will be delivered to members of the Trade Union Congress.”