The Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has revealed that many public, private partnership (PPP) housing initiatives embarked by successive governments were stalled due to paucity of funds, lack of capacity, land disputes and court cases.
This is even as he noted that despite monies generated on African continent from agro- produce, mining, trade and other sources that the leaders were yet to deliver on the promise of prosperity on the horizon.
Speaking at the just concluded 35th Annual General Meeting and International Symposium of Shelter Afrique in Abuja with the theme: “Housing Africa’s Low Income Urban Population,’ he noted that constant stalling of projects was threading the wrong path to sustainability.
According to him, “I know that there is a high expectancy out there but everything tells me that as desirous as the speed to respond to people’s expectations, that we must be careful not to build roads that go nowhere but instead, we must be meticulous, focused and dedicated to build a road to prosperity.”
He said after the declaration by the present administration to construct 0ne million housings units annually in collaboration with private sectors that scores of proposals were received from developers with majority indicating interest to build 10,000 units of housing.
“Although I will love to see houses built in such large numbers but the ministry’s interrogation of the proposals showed that none of the people who wants to build 10,000 houses can show any evidence that they have previously built 500 houses to reflect their capacity,” he said.
Fashola noted that a sizable number of the proposals were from road construction companies saying that the logistics for road construction was quite different from housing construction.
“Some of them want to build duplexes and I think we all agreed that this is not where the demand of Africa’s urban low income lies and one of them who had signed a contract to deliver a 1,000 housing unit estate since 2013 had run into difficulty after building 84 units.
Expressing satisfaction that the staff of the ministry has done greater part of the work towards the concluding plan, he acknowledged the voluntary contribution of some members of the private sector towards the initiative.
He announced that 12 states had responded to the request for land adding that the ministry has concluded plans to survey the plots of land and develop layouts ahead of commencement of the project.
“The road to Nigeria’s housing challenge lies in meticulous planning and original thinking and I am of the view that the solution to housing Africa’s urban low income population must proceed along the same basis by each African country,” he added.
Recalling the recent Habitat III Summit hosted in Abuja, Fashola pointed out that a major declaration on the need for Africans to take responsibility and be original in addressing their challenges was revealed in the Abuja declaration.