Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has advocated for a synergy between the Public and Private Sectors in the country, describing such partnership as imperative in addressing the nation’s housing deficit.
While speaking on the theme, “Expanding Access to Affordable Housing,” to a gathering of professional builders, investors and other stakeholders in the Built Industry on Monday in Abuja, the Minister said such partnership would provide quick solution to issues that could impede housing projects across the country.
Such issues, the Minister said, include those of access to land, exchange rate and issues of imports of building materials which, according to him, are some of the policies that government control.
Fashola identified that access to land is a matter within the special domain of state governors, adding that unless it is open to private developers, states would find it hard to resolve their housing problems.
Fashola however hinted, that even with the N35 billion provisions for housing in this year’s budget, the best that government could achieve was a proof of concept being developed by the Ministry.
He pointed out that N35billion split across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory would only amount to about N900million plus, which, according to him, would not even scratch the housing needs of the people “in the very first year”.
He said in order to manage the expectations of citizens regarding the provision of houses; there was need for a change in the current mindset that government would provide houses for all Nigerians.
“Perhaps we haven’t come to terms with the fact that not every country, in fact, no country, from the statistics given, has achieved a hundred per cent home ownership.
“So a hundred per cent home ownership is a utopia, therefore, some people’s salary will never be enough to own a home”, he said.
Also addressing readily available housing without tenants or buyers, he pointed out that “it would not be possible to have a sustainable housing development if houses were bought on a cash-and-carry basis.
“The builder/developer wants to see from the bank account of a prospective tenant what his or her income stream is like before he could offer these prospective homeowners a house.
”But the developer would say it’s because of the risk of failure, the risk of default and the difficulty of repossession that are some of the factors hindering the rent-to-own housing scheme,” he said.

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