By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The tMinister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said federal government is currently carrying out a census to determine the accurate housing deficit in Nigeria.
Fashola, who stated this at the 8th meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development recently in Abuja, said it would be better to have an idea of a more accurate housing deficit in Nigeria than to continue speculating.
“The ministry is conducting its census now to get an accurate figure of the housing deficit in Nigeria. This is in order to tackle the gaps that exist,” the minister told delegates from the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory.
Fashola stated that in tackling this gap, there would be employment, access to various opportunities, additional life enhancing activities, etc.
He said the move would also boost the Federal Government’s drive to lift millions of citizens in Nigeria out of poverty.
“If all these strategies that we are carrying out for the development of the housing sector and consumer credit are implemented successfully, more than 100 million people will be lifted out of poverty,” the minister stated.
To achieve this, Fashola said every stakeholder in the sector must work together, as he stressed that the delay in the execution of any approved project could lead to denied opportunities.
He urged directors and senior management employees of the FMWH and agencies under the ministry to carry out their functions diligently.
For individuals who seek housing loans from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, the minister urged them to go through cooperatives, as he noted that the bank had been working with various cooperatives.
“If cooperatives can get lands and register themselves, then the government through FMBN can give them loans to build,” he stated.
On other policies and programmes of the ministry geared towards lifting millions of people out of poverty, the minister said the FMWH had issued 3,000 backlog of certificates of occupancy and 1,708 consent to land transactions.
“These instruments strengthen and support access to credit and also contribute to improving value of land by 30 to 40 per cent,” Fashola stated.
He also noted that this asset value appreciation served as a contribution towards the prosperity ladder.
Meanwhile,the Chairman of Senate Committee on Housing, Senator Sam Egwu said the responsibility of any Government was to provide affordable houses for its citizens.
“We at the National Assembly will provide the legislative support to move the housing sector forward. We are ready to work on any bill sent to us,”.