The Kogi Government says it is committed to the promotion of local, alternative and affordable building materials to meet the housing needs increasing population in the state.

The Commissioner for Works, Housing, Lands and Urban Development, Mr Sadiq Abdulmumin, disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the third Annual Kogi Built Environment and Building Materials (BEBM) Exhibition in Lokoja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the event was: “Indigenous Building Materials: An Alternative Approach to Housing Shortage in a Recessed Economy”.

The commissioner said that the ministry had played the major role in planning, design, supervision and the eventual actualisation of tangible deliverables.

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He said the move was in line with the New Direction mantra of Gov. Yahaya Bello-led administration.

“A total of 17 road projects on contract are ongoing across the three senatorial districts of state with various levels of completion.

“We expect this gathering to propose recent technologies toward production of local building and construction of materials.

This is especially the ones involving less utilisation of cement accounting for relatively high cost of building houses,” Abdulmumin said.

The Chairman of the event, Mr Salman Idris, said that the number of mineral resources in Kogi would make the exhibition to be a confluence of ideas, investment.

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He also said that the networking opportunities inherent in the exhibition would enable participants to chart a new direction for real estate in the state.

“We shall be exploring the cost of saving architecture and alternative approach to delivering mass housing, especially for our dear state.

“Over the years, housing need has continued to escalate without a matching corresponding supply to meet these needs.

“In Nigeria for instance, the gap between demand and supply is put at 17 million housing units.

‘’This calls for exploration of different interventions to bridge this gap like we are doing today,” Idris said.

He said opportunities abound for local and international investors in the state in establishment of small and medium scale industries, particularly for the production of building materials.

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Mr Oladipo Bayode, the Executive Director, BEBM Exhibition, said the annual event started in 2012, saying that the 2017 edition would last between Oct. 17 and Oct. 20.

He said that the exhibition was a gathering of tradesmen, manufacturers and suppliers of building materials, government, private practitioners and policy makers.

According to him, their idea was to develop models capable of reducing construction costs and other related products.

Bayode urged the people to always consider the use of locally made materials as a serious alternative, particularly during economic recession.