By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engineer Abubakar Aliyu, has identified synergy as a necessary means of reducing Nigeria’s housing deficit.
Aliyu made this known in Abuja recently,at a one-day sensitisation forum on lands, housing and urban development multilateral programmes of collaboration and 10th session of the World urban forum (WUF10).
The theme of the forum was: “Achieving national housing and urban development goal: opportunities for partnerships and technical cooperation”.
Aliyu said the rapid urbanisation being experienced was one of the most significant and life changing processes of the present times.
“Its scale and dimension have severe significant social, cultural, economic and environmental consequences that have impacted on all spheres of our lives in one way or the other.
“In the face of the increasing challenges and opportunities brought about by this phenomenon, it is equally important for us to scale-up actions and leverage on the technical expertise and support of development partners,” Aliyu said.
The minister said that collaborations had led to a series of urban infrastructure investments supported by the World Bank which began in 1986 with the Nigerian States Urban Development Project (NSUDP).
He said “Synergy with UN-Habitat also resulted in the establishment of the Nigeria Country Programme Support Office (UN-HAPSO), in 2003, and we expect to soon host a UN-Habitat Multi-Country Office (MCI), in its on-going structural reforms.
“This is sure to open up a new vista of opportunities for employment and better support for housing and human settlements programmes in Nigeria.
“I challenge all present to deliberate on more innovative ways of repositioning the housing and urban development sector for the benefit of every citizen”,Aliyu stated
Consequently, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mohammed Bukar, in his remarks, said the forum was intended to provide useful guidelines for intending delegates to the forthcoming 10th session of the World Urban Forum coming up in United Arab Emirates, in February.
Bukar said the forum was to acquaint stakeholders with the insight into the operations, mechanisms, tools and opportunities for collaboration, technical assistance and capacity building with key multilateral partners.
According to him, these partners have contributed substantially, through various interventions, to advance housing and human settlements development in Nigeria.
Also,The Managing Director, Shelter-Afrique, Andrew Chimphondah, said the cheapest house in Africa is located in Luvu-Madaki community in Nasarawa state.
According to him, the house which is a 32m2 one-bedroom semi-detached units and sold for $8040 was built by Millard Fuller Foundation (MFF).
Chimphondah said 27 percent of urban households could afford the house.
He said: “The cheapest house in Africa is found in Luvu-Madaki in Nasarawa State, it is built by the Millard Fuller Foundation (MFF).
It is a 32m2 one-bedroom detached units and sells for US$8040. 27 percent of urban households can afford a US$8040 house’’.
Chimphondah presentation was titled: “Housing Development and financing options’’.
He said since the inception of his organization’s activities in Nigeria, 51 projects have been approved, regretting that only 22 were disbursed.
The shortfall, according was occasioned by the foreign exchange risk, saying it company’s funds are in the US dollars.
He called for the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to mitigate the foreign exchange risk.
“Since inception of our activities in Nigeria, 51 projects have been approved but 22 (are) disbursed. Our funds are in US$, hence, (it is) exposed to foreign exchange risk.
“Most transactions are not closed as a result of the foreign exchange risk. CBN and Ministry of Housing’s intervention is required to mitigate the foreign exchange risk’’, he said.
Meanwhile,the Human Advisor,United Nations Human Settlement Programme(UN-Habitat),Ishaku Maitumbi who spoke on “Partnerships and Technical for Urbanization”said with the increase in population both enormous potential and substantial challenges are for both urban and rural areas .
Maitumbi stated that with the challenge at hand ,UNHabitat has designed a renting housing programme to provide advisory services including feasibility studies, business planning, regulatory frameworks, setting up,capital raising, training and development.
He said this will provide long term lines of credit to finance the creation and acquisitions of rental housing companies.
He also threw light on the product of HOUSING MICRO-FINANCE, he reiterated that the product is designed to
Provide local micro-finance institutions with funds for on-lending to individuals at the bottom of the pyramid to
support them in taking steps towards home-ownership.
Proving his points, Human Advisor stressed that it will also Provide specialised Impact Investment Funds with financial resources aimed at supporting either micro-
finance institutions or other organised groups at the bottom of the pyramid to assist them in taking steps towards home-ownership.
“Provide technical assistance and advisory services to Micro-Finance Institutions to support their capacity building process in housing projects structuring, appraisals and implementation management”,he maintained