Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) said on Monday that it has initiated programmes under the Public-Private Partnership to address 1.7 million housing deficit in the FCT.
Malam Muhammad Bello said at the opening of the 12th Abuja Housing Show in Abuja that this initiative was in line with private sector driven housing policy.
The minister said that the Nigerian government had formulated a National Housing Policy in 1991 to ease the provision of adequate, accessible and low-cost housing for its citizens.
Bello was represented at the event by Mr Umar Shuaibu, Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Management Council (AMMMC).
The conference has its theme as: “Driving Growth and Sustainability in Nigeria Housing and Mortgage Markets-Improving Structures and Policies for Impact.
He noted that the goal of the policy was not realised due to several factors ranging from lack of political will, policy inconsistency, poor financing to weak institutional structures.
He said the policy was, therefore, amended in 2004 in which the Federal Government adopted a more market-oriented approach to housing delivery, limiting its role to that of an enabler and regulator instead of a provider.
“The limitation of the role of the public sector is to allow for more active private sector participation in direct housing provision.
“The revised policy established financial institutions and procedure that will make funds available through the primary mortgage institutions for affordable housing production.
“The new policy, therefore, acknowledged the private sector as a key partner in the delivery of housing for the country.”
The minister noted that due to the importance of housing, the Abuja Master Plan has apportioned a land area of 12,486ha for housing development, which represent 49 per cent of the total land area in the territory with 100 per cent funding by the government.
He, therefore, said since mid 2000, funds allocated to the FCTA by the Federal Government had continued to dwindle, thereby making it difficult to cater for the large population influx into the city.
Also, Mrs Amma Pepple, Former Minister, Land, Housing and Urban Development, was worried about the challenges of housing which had remained the same since she left the sector.
Pepple called on stakeholders to put more efforts in addressing the supply and demand of housing in the country.
“I go to some areas in Abuja, but discovered there are no infrastructures and landlords keep collecting rent without putting in place infrastructure for housing.
“When I visited other countries, they made available good road networks, electricity, water and others before you acquire a place.
“Government needs to participate in building projects because if it provides the land with low cost of materials, it will make it easier for Nigerians to acquire houses.”
Earlier, Mr Mustapha Boss, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said affordable and a accessible housing is human right as the constitution compels the Nigeria state to provide adequate shelter to all its citizens.
Boss, who was represented by his Permanent Secretary, Mr Gabriel Aduda, noted that access to decent and safe housing provision at affordable pricing should be a birth right for every Nigerians.
He, therefore, said that the government alone cannot do this, but need the help of private sectors to address the issue of interest rate, politicisation and mortgage financing confronting the housing sector.
Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo said there was need to turn housing policies to implementation action to enable Nigerians reach optimal capacity of acquiring shelter.
Obaseki, who was represented by Mr Festus Osagie, Director-General, Edo State Liaison Office, said Nigeria have the potential to grow its housing sector with the political will it has.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the show is a forum to bring together all real estate stakeholders to discuss and explore ideas to move Nigerians housing industry to international standard.
The conference, which began in 2005, has in attendance participants from private, public, housing sector and exhibitors.
Some of them are Urban Shelter, Platinum Mortgage Bank, Federal Mortgage Bank, Haven Homes, Nigerite Limited, NMRC, Brains and Hammers and so on.