The Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has disclosed that the Federal Government is committed to growing the housing sector and harnessing its vast potentials for sustainable national development, stating that housing has been a driver of economic growth throughout the world and that there is no reason why Nigeria cannot achieve same.
In his keynote address delivered at this year’s World Habitat and World Cities Day commemoration in Abuja, the Minister, represented by the Minister of State II in the Ministry, Surv. Suleiman Hassan Zarma, mnis, said that the dual theme of this year’s celebration : ‘ Housing Policies: Affordable Homes’ and ‘Innovative Governance, Open Cities, is a “reflection of a strong attempt to follow up on Agenda 2030 and the New Urban Agenda adopted in Quito, Ecuador in 2016”. He added that it will afford policy makers in Nigeria the opportunity to review and evaluate past housing policies and assess their impact as well as strategize for the future.
He said that government has put in place the necessary machinery to jump- start a housing revolution through the innovative nationwide National Housing Programme. According to him, “the pilot implementation stage has already created opportunities for 634 contractors, created 13,689 direct jobs and 41,000 indirect jobs’’. He noted that if the Programme could be replicated on a yearly basis and also successfully implement the housing cooperatives, leverage private sector capacity, strengthen FHA and FMBN to play their roles, we will be creating an affordable housing economy that will fortify and transform our nation in the nearest future.
The Minister stated that, “to complement these efforts, we have activated the Road map for Nigeria’s Housing and Urban development Sector, and are in the process of producing a strategic National Physical Development Plan to integrate physical planning with economic development,” adding that the National Building Code was also being revised to curb incessant building collapse in the county and to ensure proper alignment with the International Building Code.
In his welcome remarks, the Minister of State I for Power, Works and Housing, Hon Mustapha Baba Shehuri, reminded stakeholders in the housing sector of their duties to develop policies capable of providing basic infrastructures and social services that could be lacking due to rapid urbanization of cities. He said, “We are therefore duty bound to generate responsive policies which are capable of turning around the current poor state of our cities and guarantee efficient delivery of infrastructure and basic social services.”
In a message from the UN Secretary General, Dr. Joan Clos, delivered by the UN- Habitat Country Programme Manager, Mr Kabir Yari, he said that, “addressing the housing needs for the poorest and most vulnerable, especially women, youths and those who live in slums must be a priority in the development agenda of nations. He also noted that addressing affordability issue in the provision of housing is of strategic importance for development, social, peace and equity in the society and that promoting sound housing policies is crucial for climate change, resilience, mobility and energy consumption”.
In a paper titled “Cities for all Nigerians:Policy and Implementation of the Global and the New Urban Agenda.” delivered by Professor Banji Oyelaran- Oyeyinka, former Director, Regional Office for Africa, UN-Habitat, he stated that member states, in the New Urban Agenda, agreed “to promote housing policies based on the principles of inclusion, economic effectiveness, and environmental protection.” He noted that for government to ensure the provision of suitable affordable housing for all, it has a large number of policies to develop, ranging from planning problem, zoning issues, funding and constructing adequate transport linkages to other implementation policies.
The World Habitat and World cities Day Commemoration is an annual event that comes up in the month of October. It presents an opportunity for nations to review and evaluate their housing policies and their political commitment by providing affordable and sustainable housing for all.
Mrs Oluseyi Nwachuku
For: Ag. Director, Information
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