By Fortune Abang
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, says the Federal Government will remain committed to address housing deficits in the country.
Osinbajo disclosed this in an address on Friday in Abuja at the inauguration of the 2020 two-day (Oct. 9 and 10) National House fair, being organised by Bstan Homes ltd.
Osinbajo, represented by the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Dr Abubakar Aliyu, said the fair initiative is apt in terms of government plans to meet housing needs.
He extolled the initiative to have been born out of foresight and patriotism coming at a time the nation is in dire need of interventions to complement government efforts on housing development.
Osinbajo said, “Since the establishment in 2017, the National House Fair has pursued the task of pulling together key stakeholders in the real estate industry towards addressing the housing bottlenecks.
“It is understood that the house fair is a veritable platform for facilitation of housing deals, we are aware that the challenges bedeviling housing development in the country require emphasis.
“Nonetheless, I acknowledge the choice of the theme of this housing fair ‘Gateway to better life; affordable housing solution’ which I consider apt is an opportunity for assessment of our housing journey.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years and housing has been identified as a major tool for the realization, due to its multiple efforts.
“Consequently, in line with the FG sustainability plan, CBN has recently approved the sum of N200 Billion for 300,000 households, the facility is to enable Family Funds ltd finance construction of social housing units for low income earners.
“The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has introduced a programme tagged, Affording Housing Development and Management Initiative, aimed at reducing housing deficit through collaboration with public and private entities.”
He said the initiative would boost the housing economy, increase National Housing stores and promote cooperatives, management of public buildings, hostel accommodations, deployment of unoccupied houses for either development schemes or rental initiatives.
More so, he said, it would encourage development/modelling of all buildings to modern needs and cities, urban renewal/generation community upgrading among other things.
He mentioned that the pilot project is expected to commence in October 2020 in Gwagwalada, with the construction of about 2500 housing units under Public Private Partnership involving private developers.
In the same vein, the Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11, underscored the need for traditional rulers to play a major role in housing development of the country.
He narrated that from time immemorial, traditional rulers had been natural custodians of lands and real estates within the confine of beliefs and tradition in the entire black race.
According to him, traditional rulers are relevant in housing and communities they govern, particularly in the provision of affordable housing for their subjects.
“We are traditional rulers over the good, the bad and the ugly, because we know it all and we can see it all within the confines of our kingdoms.
“It is time for us to work closely with the organised private sector and the government.
“The era has completely gone for us to sit within the confines of our kingdoms, fold our arms and leave everything to naturally take its cause.
“We should live by example and work towards how to support the government to provide affordable housing for and sundry,” he said.
For her part, Engr. Becky Olubukola, President and Group Managing Director of Bstan Homes Ltd., said that the housing sector could further boost economic growth in the country.
He identified legislation, inadequate funding and infrastructural facilities, high cost of land registration and irregularities of land titles to be major challenges that hinder housing development.
She noted that to tackle housing deficits more should be done through proper investment to ensure sustainable growth.
Olubukola said, “The housing and construction sector if properly administered can produce a tremendous multiplier effect on the broader economy of any nation.
“Nigeria is estimated as at 2015 to have house deficits of approximately 22 million and it is projected that about N59.5 trillion will be required to remedy the gap in this sector.”