By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu,said the total housing stock in the state by the end of this year, would be increased by additional 3,004 units within completion .
He affirmed that his administration’s commitment to affordable mass housing delivery through models that incorporate private sector partnership and local contents while creating jobs.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, during the celebration of the 2020 World Habitat Day, said shelter was part of his vision.
Theme of the 2020 World Habitat Day is: “Housingfor all; a better urban future”.
The governor said the current and projected future population of Lagos State presented huge opportunities for investors in the housing sector and a compelling need for urban renewal.
“Our pact with Lagosians as contained in our T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda under the fourth pillar is to ensure a significant reduction in the housing deficit through the provision of affordable and decent housing.
“And to deepen our commitment to a greater Lagos by advancing our strides towards an enduring urban future, founded on good spatial and sectoral planning,” he said.
He said his administration has returned the state to the National Housing Fund, and appointed the Lagos Building Investment Company (LBIC) PLC as sole mortgage provider to fast track a reduction in the housing deficit.
“We have also taken concrete steps to increase the housing stock in the state through the combined efforts of the Ministry of Housing, the Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSDPC) and Lagos Building Investment Company in delivering affordable housing units to the teeming population,” he said.
He listed completed housing schemes in some estates to include: Lateef Kayode Housing Estate, Igando, Courtland Villas, Lekki and Lekki Apartments, Ikate Elegushi within 16 months totaling 2,268.
He said government was committed to the full implementation of the rent-to-own policy, aimed at achieving the objective of making housingaffordable to low income earners in the state.
He said the policy had already produced 1,303 homeowners in Oba Adeboruwa, Lateef Jakande and Epe Housing Schemes.
“The government is equally aware of the debilitating impact of urban squalour on the socio-economic development of the State; and has thus strengthened the Lagos State Urban Renewal Authority (LASURA) as the relevant government agency to initiate and implement fresh ideas for eradicating slums in the Lagos Mega City.”
Earlier, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, said in his welcome address that the state government understood the complexities of housing delivery and was adopting proactive cost-efficient policies.
Salako said government would continue to facilitate the objective of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, in line with the dictates of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11.
He commended the Sanwo-Olu’s administration for providing adequate regulation platforms including Planning Permit Process and Turn-Around-Time, Preparation/Updating of Model City Plans, effective State-wide Monitoring /Compliance Checks and prompt removal of non-conforming structures, among others.
He said government had also extended Planning Permit to Non-Schemed Areas by providing Development Guide Plans for Excised Villages, to ensure orderly and sustainable development.
The guest speaker, Dr Tunde Reis, a retired Brig.-Gen., called for an enabling legislation and policies to tackle the issues of availability and affordability to address the huge housing gap.
He advised government to segment end users, incorporate the informal sector of the economy in planning, enact the enabling regulations and policies as well as encourage the affordability gap funding.
He called for shared equity on homes between government, developers and end users to increase housing stock and affordability to reduce prices and increase demand.
“As a developer why would I build 1,000 homes when the 1,00 I built three years ago has not been paid for?” he said.
He said only a sustained partnership between government, the academia, developers and end users can give the positive results of increasing demand and supply leveraging on technology.
“Government should not wait for developers to dictate what happens in the industry. Without enabling policies and regulations, other aspects cannot fall in place,” he said.