Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Surveyor Suleiman Hassan Zarma has pointed out that affordable housing and conducive urban environment remained portent indicators of the well-being of Nigerians through effective policies and pragmatic development programmes.
Zarma who stated this in Abuja at a workshop for Real Estate Developers organised by Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria (REDAN) added that the lives of Nigerians would be transformed without compromising reasonable returns on investments in the sector. He said that while government clamoured for the provision of shelter, that there was the need for a proper definition of their roles and responsibilities for participation in the private sector to avoid overlapping and duplication of housing issues in the country.
According to him, “In line with the administration’s determination to provide shelter and affordable housing to the greater number of citizens, new strategies are undergoing acceptability and affordability test which will guarantee citizens sustainable access to qualitative houses”.
This he said led to the emergence of the Nigerian National Housing project being built by the federal government in each state of the federation whose critical features are responsive to the needs of people in their cultural and climatic diversity.
Zarma listed other strategic housing programmes embarked by the present administration aimed at bridging the national housing deficit and renewing the urban centres as mass housing under the prototype housing scheme and ministerial pilot housing scheme.
He emphasised that the 17 million housing deficit being presented in the country is neither supported by empirical research and survey adding that relevant data would inevitably guide national planning and development, especially in the built industry.
The minister commended REDAN and other relevant government agencies for initiating and championing the establishment of National Real Estate Data Collation Programme (NREDCP) whose end results would clearly mitigate the actual housing challenges.
He called on various development partners within Nigeria and abroad to invest in Nigerian housing market saying that the market has enormous viable potentials. Zarma commended the tenacity of REDAN in organising the annual event that provided the opportunity for stakeholders to exhibit products and services within the housing sector.
He noted that the event is encouraging as the organised private sector is not only heeding to the clarion call by government for closed collaboration but taking the lead position in addressing the affordable housing challenges. “Government is not oblivious to the number of challenges in getting the rapid development of the housing sector over the years which is too familiar to all,” he said.
This he said informed the ministry’s position in 2016 to host the housing summit with the aim of examining the key constraints against the provision of affordable housing by proffering sustainable solution and developing strategic blueprints to address the challenges.
The minister emphasised that the present administration has demonstrated commitment and sustained partnership with the private sector towards the full realisation of the National housing programme with specific emphasis on the private sector- driven housing system.
He revealed that budgetary allocations are consistently provided in the fiscal year to guarantee effective collaboration with a number of contractors for housing delivery across the country.