Published On: Wed, Sep 13th, 2017

Housing experts call for inclusive, sustainable development

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By Mashe Umaru Gwamna

Permanent Secretary, Directors, stakeholders and Experts in the housing sectors from the 36 states including Abuja gathered under the auspices Ministry of Power,Works and Housing .
It was the 6thMeeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development which was held at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja from 21st – 23rd August 2017
The three-day meeting was themed : “Building for Inclusion, Growth and Prosperity,” focused on challenges facing the housing sector such as housing deficits , the important of land in the provision of shelter to the populace and addressing the concern issues.
The housing sector is saddled with the responsibility of providing qualitative and affordable housing as well as building cities for communities that are inclusive safe , resilient and sustainable.
This leaded to stakeholders deliberating on how to bridge in the yearning gap of 17million housing deficits by added value through inclusion and reviewing procurement process that has advantage of liberalized system for citizens to own a house.
During the meeting ,Articulated papers were presented on various topics geared towards developing the housing sector.
In his speech the Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Babatunde Fashola, , advocated for the review of the procurement processes in order to create windows of opportunity that will guarantee inclusion, growth and development of all Nigerians and the nation at large.
Fashola noted that small scale businesses find it difficult to meet with existing procurement requirements which often leads to exclusion, adding that the policy review, which will be backed up by an Act of Parliament, will restore the dignity and economic growth of the people.
The Minister who could not hide his enthusiasm, noted that one of the decisions reached at the 2016 Council Meeting in Ilorin, Kwara State, has metamorphosed into a National Housing Programme, with on going construction of affordable mass houses across 33 states of the Federation.
According to him, ‘’it shows that change is possible when people commit themselves, Governments in Nigeria can get things done.” He further stated that rather than discussing and capitalizing on the huge National housing deficit, stakeholders in the built environment should collaborate and compliment government’s efforts in narrowing the gap.
“the National Housing Programme, is the first of its kind, on a national scale, apart from those delivered by the apart from those delivered by the Shagari Administration many decades ago, that seeks to respond to the deficit”.
He said that government agencies such the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) have been repositioned to drive affordable housing delivery in the country.
The Minister also informed the Council that government is working assidiously towards a national launch and enlightenment programme on the use of co-operatives in the delivery of affordable housing.
He noted that the use of co-operatives in sectors like agriculture and market organizations, where the vulnerability of an individual is transformed into the strength of a group and the nation, at large.
He promised that government is ready and willing to support groups who can form themselves into cooperatives being enabling capacities to acquire land, take loans, build for themselves and operate a “rent to own” policy for those who cannot pay full ownership cost at once.
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Mohammed Musa Bello, represented by the Minister of State for Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibrin?, welcomed Permanent Secretaries from various states and other stakeholders in the built environment to the Capital city, Abuja and urged all participants to take advantage of the Council Meeting to articulate a common position towards the growth and development of the sector.
Mallam Bello noted that though the country, over the years, have been experiencing serious housing deficit as a result of urbanization and influx of artisans into the urban centres, adding that efforts are being made to address the situation.
He also stated that the FCT Administration has put in place a housing and urban management policy and programme that will ensure people living in the capital territory have access to decent and affordable housing.
In his Keynote Address at the occassion, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Senator Barnabas Gemade stated that the National Assembly have submitted a bill for the amendment of the entire procurement act and is still been awaiting the ascent of Mr. President to be signed into law.
He added that the Senate also recommended the 15 per cent contract mobilization to be increased to 30 per cent in order to enhance the delivery of projects.
Consequently,at the end of 6th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development ended with the submission and consideration of thirty-two (32)Memoranda under the four thematic groups as follows:
Provision of Adequate and Affordable Housing; Inclusive And Sustainable Urbanisation; Provision of Sustainable Infrastructure; and provision of Sustainable and Resilient Buildings.
Meanwhile, the Council considered the issues raised in the Memoranda presented at the Meeting and adopted the following resolutions .
The stakeholders called on all tiers of Government to subsidies cost of infrastructure as social investment to make housing affordable; encouraged all tiers of government to promote the use of cooperative societies in the provision of affordable housing as currently under taken by the Armed Forces, the Police and the paramilitary agencies for their personnel of housing projects.”
However, the council requested that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to upscale its budgetary allocation for the preparation and implementation of the National Physical Development Plans in order to achieve one of the broad strategic objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP)”all tiers of government and Urban Development Authorities to provide adequate budgetary allocation for the preparation and implementation of statutorily required Regional, Sub-Regional, Urban, Local and Subject Plans in order to ensure effective implementation of the NPDP.
“They encouraged State Governments to appoint only qualified planning professionals to undertake physical planning consultancy.
The housing experts endorsed the adoption of the ‘Rent-to-Own’ product by all tiers of Government to improve housing inclusion, growth and economic prosperity.
“Government to hasten the recapitalization of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to the tune of N500 billion as endorsed during the 5th Meeting of the National Council of Lands, Housing & Urban Development held at Ilorin, Kwara State, to drive the implementation of the ‘Rent-to-Own’ product and other inclusive/affordable housing initiatives “.
Meanwhile , stakeholders at meeting called for collaboration between the Standards Organization of Nigeria, and other relevant professional bodies in certifying all materials produced within the country and those materials which are imported.
The Council accepted the offer of GombeState to host the 7th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development in the 3rdQuarter of 2018.

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