President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the country might face a housing crisis in the next four years, but stressed that his government had earmarked N40bn to provide affordable homes for Nigerians in the 2016 budget in order to avert such a risk.
According to Buhari, for Nigeria to adequately avert the pending housing crisis, it must consciously build one million units annually so as to cut down the current 17 million housing deficit.
The President disclosed this at the 35th Annual General Meeting and international symposium of Shelter Afrique in Abuja.
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammed Bello, stated that the N40bn would be used to implement a comprehensive housing development plan for Nigeria.
He said, “We are, therefore, very much convinced of the catalytic development potential of the housing sector and have accordingly earmarked about N40bn in the 2016 capital budget to implement a comprehensive programme for housing development in Nigeria.
“Nigeria, with a population of about 170 million people and an annual population growth rate of 3.5 per cent, requires a minimum of additional one million housing units per annum to reduce the much acclaimed national deficit of about 17 million housing units in order to avert a housing crisis by the year 2020.
“The problem of housing the urban poor is not entirely new and I believe that different efforts must have been deployed in the past to confront it. But, even today, the problem is still with us. Such reality challenges us to re-assess our methodologies and evolve fresh strategies to meet the exigencies of these times.”
The President said the new national housing development programme initiated by the government would address shortage through direct housing supply.
He explained that the initiative would also harness all forward and backward linkages offered by each housing project for rejuvenation of sustainable development in Nigeria.
He said the initiative would guarantee access by middle and low income earners to the housing units through targeted mortgage and off-take arrangements.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, lamented that series of housing initiatives embarked upon by the country over the years had not been pursued with consistency or any measure of sustainability.
He explained that Shelter Afrique had financed 23 housing initiatives with N10.435bn between 2005 and 2010, adding that 12 state governments had responded to the request for land to build houses, and that the secured land would be surveyed by the ministry preparatory to commencing their development.
Source: The PUNCH