13 November 2012

Nigeria: President Jonathan Restates Commitment to Transformation of the Housing Sector

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has reiterated his administration’s commitment to the reinvigoration and revitalisation of the housing and urban development sector.

The President who was speaking at the Presidential Stakeholders Retreat on Housing and Urban Development at the Banquet Hall of State House, Abuja on Monday, November 12 said that this will be achieved by translating the National Housing Policy and National Urban Development Policy into a roadmap for housing development in the country.

He said the policies are to be translated into action through a roadmap for the Sector that will address the challenges of achieving a housing revolution within the shortest possible time and also provide the pathway for transforming the nation’s cities into livable and functional human settlements.

While urging all stakeholders to cooperate in the quest to achieve this objective, the President called for concerted efforts at checking the national housing deficit which he said stood at between 16 and 17 million units.

He explained that if the deficit is to be bridged, efforts must be made to provide affordable housing, especially to the no-income, low-income, lower-medium income, and the informal, sector worker adding that a variety of housing delivery schemes, including social housing, rental schemes, regeneration and Housing cooperatives must be evaluated.

”We must also seriously concern ourselves with how we can meet the global benchmarks in housing building standards, proper land use and space standards and institutionalization of a vibrant mortgage system, based on long-term repayment terms,” President Jonathan maintained.

”In the same manner, we must focus attention on how to overcome the issues of capacity gaps, poor quality of building materials, inappropriate technology and dearth of technological innovations, in support of mass housing delivery,” he added.

Speaking earlier the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Amal Pepple, identified some of the challenges confronting the housing sector to included lack of political will to unleash a housing revolution, policy inconsistencies and institutional inability.

Others according to her include undue politicization, piece-meal strategy of housing delivery at the expense of mass housing development, and lack of ownership/title rights partly attributable to challenges associated with the implementation of the Land Use Act, 1978.

Also listed by the minister were poor land administration, little effort in computerizing state land registries, delay and high cost of processing land titles, cumbersome and slow foreclosure procedures, non-availability and high cost of construction materials; low capacity of builders and developers and unprecedented urbanization, etc.

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who in her contribution noted that corruption would significantly reduce if majority of Nigerians owned their homes said the resolution of the issues in the housing sector is not a function of finance alone.

She said the nation needed to add 23 million homes by 2020 to meet the supply gap or another 2.6 million homes a year adding that the simplification of the allocation of land title and the registration processes, identifying three to four bankable housing projects to deliver at least 1million houses next year as necessary actions that must be taken if the goal of delivering on the housing need of the citizens must be achieved.

For those who still will not be able to buy a house even if a mortgage facility is put in place, the Finance Minister pledged to work in concert with her Land and Housing counterpart to come up with a low income housing solution for the country and called for the consideration of immediate regulatory actions required from the Federal Government to underpin and facilitate Urban Development in Nigeria.

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