Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has assured that the present administration will embark on an aggressive intervention in the housing sector by undertaking construction of public housing and formulate policies that will further enhance private participation and ownership in a determined effort by the administration to reduce the housing deficit in the country.
Speaking at the maiden press briefing to unveil his ministry’s policy thrust in line with the change mantra of the administration, the Minister said it was time to move beyond formulation of Housing policies alone, to being consistent in their implementation, stating that the housing sector presents enormous opportunity that will positively impact the economy and promote growth and inclusion in the housing value chain.
The minister called for a change in the budgetary allocation to the sector. According to him, “consistency is the key, annual spending is an imperative. We must change the budget for national housing from N1.8b in 2015 to something in the hundreds of billions of Naira that matches our ambition”, he said, calling on the need to spend more on capital budget to reflect the commitment of government to its social contract promise to Nigerians.
He explained that if as much as N10b for instance is expended on housing annually on each state of the federation and the FCT, subject to the capacity to raise and utilize the funds in line with current construction methods and completion timelines, it will address the economic commitments of change by stimulating job creation across the states especially for the low income class like the bricklayers, welders, carpenters, plumbers and vendors.
He also said the ministry will consider the re-designing of existing housing Roof types to make them ready to receive solar panels for electricity without damaging the roof or causing leakage during installation, adding that the initiative will open a new vista for local manufacture of solar panels, create jobs at manufacturing, distribution and installation levels for technicians as is the case with cable TV installations.
He promised to complete on-going projects and start off new projects borrowing the LagosHoms model he introduced in Lagos state during his tenure as the governor. He said that the project could take off with 40 blocks per state of the model type which he explained is capable of delivering 12 flats(homes) per block and 480 flats (homes) per state and 17,760 flats (homes) nationwide for a start.
In attendance at the press briefing were; the Hon. Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Mustapha Baba Shehuri, Permanent Secretary, Works and Housing, Engr. Abubakar Magaji, Permanent Secretary, Power, Mr Louis Edozien, Directors in the Ministry, Chief Executives of parastatals in the Ministry and representatives of the professional and regulatory bodies of the Ministry.