FG Will Launch its 17,760 Mass Housing Programme Soon, Says Fashola

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*Wants estate agents to review exorbitant agency terms

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola on Satursday disclosed that the federal government has concluded on how it plans to build more houses for Nigerians in its mass housing programme and would soon launch the implementation strategies.

Fashola spoke at the 46th annual conference of the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors (NIESV) in Abuja. He also called for a careful review of the exorbitant agency terms often dished out to house seekers by estate agents in cities across the country.

Represented by his Special Adviser on Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Abiodun Oki at the conference, Fashola stated that it was no secret that Nigeria has a huge housing deficit; he however explained that the government has designed clear steps to quickly begin to close the gap.

Fashola had in December 2015 announced during his inaugural press briefing that the federal government would partner state governments in a new housing model that would yield up to N10 billion annual funding for 17,760 flats to be built across the country in one year.

He however said at the NIESV conference: “Of course it is no secret that we are faced with a housing deficit that we must reduce, what is debatable is of course the size of the deficit. My take is that whatever the size of the deficit, the first step to reducing it starts with a clear plan, which we are already working on, and not with lamentations which we are not indulging in.”
“Very shortly, we will be unveiling the details of that plan to Nigerians, and how we intend to use it to re-ignite and diversify our economy on a sustainable basis,” added Fashola.

The minister equally said the federal government notwithstanding its plans or programme, would not be able to close up the housing deficits in the country.

“Be that as it may, the other point to note is that no matter how hard we try, Government acting alone, cannot provide all the housing supply that people need,” he stated in this regards.

He said because everyone would not be able own a house, a mixture of housing, comprising ownership and rental would be the strategy that could help the country address in detail its housing deficit.
“Therefore, we must talk about affordable housing not only in terms of access to government housing for purchase, but also in terms of privately owned houses for rent,” he noted.

The minister in this regard called on NIESV to review and ensure that its members comply with the principles of real estate valuation and pricing of accommodation. According to him, extant unwholesome practices by estate agents hinder access to housing and compound the challenge of urbanisation in the country.

He said: “While government will concentrate on building houses to start the process of improving home ownership as one side of the shelter issue of urbanisation, I believe your association has a great deal to contribute to the other half of shelter acquisition by making rental accommodation more affordable.”