“Why we need a Federal Ministry of Housing”- HDAN

Housing development Advocacy Network HDAN has described the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration in separating the ministry of works from housing from the onset has negatively impacted housing development in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by HDAN president, Festus Adebayo at an Agenda Setting news conference in Abuja.

According to Adebayo, the new ministry of Housing will play its constitutional role of being an enabler of housing development and championing relevant policies in collaboration with relevant NGOs and professional bodies with less distraction.

“Ministry of Works that is responsible for infrastructures, road, construction etc., is in a bad state, and housing on the other hand is also in a terrible state. And it is in these two areas that citizens can feel the impact of governance.”

“The last ten years, the sector haven’t gotten the required necessary attention, especially in the area of data. As we all know the exact data for housing deficit is still in silos. Notwithstanding, we can say that the housing deficit in Nigeria has increased tremendously without any commiserate effort by the government to solve the problem.

“Yes, some houses were built, but they are not affordable for those who truly need them, and many are located in the outskirts of the town where security becomes a challenge”.

“We thought initially that when government want to intervene in housing was as a result of free lands in their possession, budgetary allocations to ease financing with the hope that the houses will be less in prices. By the way the government also have access to manufacturers of building materials, but we thought wrong”.

Adebayo also commended the efforts of the immediate past minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola for his relentless effort, he however noted that it is necessary to create a full-fledged ministry of Housing that will concentrate fully on matters relating to housing and home ownership in Nigeria.

The need for full-fledged ministry cannot be over emphasized as it will enable the ministry to concentrate on housing, home ownership, mortgage development, policies amongst others.

While commending President Tinubu for ensuing a full Ministry dedicated to Housing and hunting the best among professionals in the sector to take up the responsibility of manning the ministry, Adebayo urged the incoming minister of housing to make the issue of real estate and housing data a priority. Especially the answer to the accurate housing deficit data, and information on the various categories of their housing needs.

“The new minister of housing should also exploit the opportunity of developing cooperative housing in Nigeria, which according to him have been used in many countries to bridge the housing deficit gap.

“Mortgage sector is another area to look into, he must come up with a committee to address these problems. Mortgage development will help create hope for our youths who have plans of leaving the country as a result of losing interest in the country.”

“The new minister must also be ready to identify professionals in the sector, estate developers with excellent reputation and record and performance to work with to deliver mega cities in the different geo-political zones. With that, the manifesto of APC in delivering houses can be fulfilled.

“There’s also a need to empower the agencies that will be under the new ministry of housing because some of them as at today are under performing due to lack of enabling environment and appropriate laws in delivering their services.

“He must also be ready to work with the National Assembly to implement laws that will attract investments in the real estate sector in Nigeria. He must single handedly lead the building of made in Nigeria houses models that will make Nigerians to know that it is possible to have made in Nigeria Houses, even if the input is just 80 percent.

“The new minister must also prioritize protection of consumers and manufacturers of real estate products, there must be transparency and documentation to ease flow of activities.

“For us at HDAN, we strongly believe that there are many international agencies that can be considered to be part of this exercise, especially in the area of finance due to its importance to the economic development of the country.”

In a nutshell, the new administration must understand that direct construction of housing by the ministry is not the way to go, because the last exercise of direct construction by the federal ministry of works and housing did not go well, he said.

AUTHOR: Esther Alexander

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