Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said the issue of what constitutes affordable housing is still debatable, adding, however, that what is clear is that ‘there is no low cost housing’. The minister said “There are no low cost iron rods, no low cost cement, no low cost window panes and so on.” Special Adviser on Communication to the Minister, Mr. Hakeem Bello, said Fashola maintained that housing policies in Nigeria have not been sustained, attributing this partly to land. “We have not built enough not because we don’t have land, but let us first recognise that it is a local sub-national matter. “I think that ideally the housing policy initiative should be driven by state governments, adding that what his ministry is seeking to do is to catalyse something we can all own up to and that requires consultations which have largely taken place,” Fashola said. According to him, the issue is to identify the design of houses that all Nigerians would accept readily. “What kind of houses do we want? Some people don’t even want houses, they want land to build, some want duplexes, some want detached houses, some want semi-detached,” he noted. Recalling that the ministry had to move all over Nigeria to get the different designs, he assured that in terms of design the problem has been solved, adding that the ministry is finalising plans to start work. Citing the Housing Programme of the United Kingdom which, according to him, would be 100 years in 2018, the minister said because the designs were standardised, they have been sustained all these years. He stressed that “because it was what the people wanted, that is why their housing programme has lasted for long,” adding that his ministry is working on such a design that would stand the test of time. Meanwhile, Fashola also revealed that many Public- Private-Partnership, PPP, on housing were stalled due to paucity of funds, lack of capacity, land disputes and
Mass demolition looms in Abuja
Adopting Lagos’ holistic approach to housing devt, ownership BusinessProperty court cases. This is even as he noted that despite monies generated from agro-produce, mining, trade and other sources, African leaders are yet to deliver on the promise of prosperity. He said after the declaration by the present administration to construct one million housing units annually in collaboration with private sectors, 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 want to build 10,000 houses can show 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 logistics for road construction is quite different from that of housing. “Some of them want to build duplexes and I think we all agree 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 1,000 housing unit estate since 2013 had run into difficulty after building 84 units.’’ Expressing satisfaction that staff of the ministry have done a greater part of the work, 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 and develop layouts ahead of the 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.

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