By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, has directed the Heads of Departments within the Ministry to think outside the box and come up with innovative measures and ideas that will help the Ministry achieve its mandate of providing affordable housing, increasing access to land, and ensuring the sustainable development of urban and rural areas and communities nationwide.
This was contained in press statement signed and issued by the SA Media to the Hon. Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Mark Chieshe.
Arc. Dangiwa issued this directive on the first day of receiving Detailed Briefings from the Principal Officers of the Ministry. This is part of a broad range of reform actions that he plans to take to ensure that the Ministry is properly re-aligned along the path of enhanced efficiency to enable perform its functions optimally towards delivering greater impact as stated in its mandate.
This includes ensuring that the Ministry, which is mostly staffed by professional Architects and Town Planners, take the lead in researching and developing housing designs that are, in reality, actually affordable, acceptable, and accessible to Nigerians, particularly low and medium-income earners, who constitute over 80% of the Nigerian population.
He emphasized that all professionals within the Ministry must take their roles seriously and contribute their quota towards achieving this objective.
“As a Ministry staffed mostly with professional Architects, we must use our knowledge and expertise to produce innovative housing designs that are affordable and livable. We must prioritize the 80% of Nigerians that are within the low to medium income segment. They too are Nigerians and deserve to live in decent, safe, and quality homes” he stated.
To achieve this, the Minister immediately set up a Committee on Affordable Housing Design and tasked its members to develop a minimum of three different housing concepts that an average Nigerian can afford.
He directed that the conceptual designs should be organic. This means a family can start with a one bedroom and as their incomes increase expand that same house to a two bedroom or three bedrooms over time on the same parcel of land by attaching one or two walls as the case may be.
Arc. Dangiwa further clarified that an affordable house that is reasonable priced and within the financial means of individuals and families with lower incomes. He said that such a house should not cost more than 30% of a household’s income. This includes rent or mortgage payments, as well as utilities and maintenance costs. This puts the preferred cost of a house that an average Nigerian can afford at within the range of N4 to N7million.
The Honorable Minister also assigned the Urban and Regional Planning Directorate the task of collaborating with the National Assembly to formulate an actionable framework for initiating the review of the Land Use Act of 1978 as it is crucial for facilitating affordable housing delivery.
The Minister noted that the Land Use Act contains outdated provisions and no longer fully serves its original purpose due to the passage of time.
All directives have been provided with specific timelines to ensure effective and efficient implementation.