Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the country needed one million houses annually to reduce its current national housing deficit of about 17 million and a avert housing crisis by the year 2020.
The President during the 35th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and International Symposium of Shelter Afrique held in Abuja explained that, the government intends to directly supply housing stocks in urban areas across all the geo-political zones under its Comprehensive Housing Programme.
President Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Musa Bello, noted that, Federal Government has earmarked N40 billion in the 2016 capital budget to implement a comprehensive housing programme in the country.
“The Federal Government would also continue to prosecute overall housing policy stand which recognizes the government as active facilitator of private sector-driven housing sector”, he said.
He added that government was considering vibrant reforms in land administration, urban planning/renewal and mortgage housing finance under its new comprehensive housing programme to improve housing delivery in the country.
President Buhari noted that “the current realities of housing shortfall, challenges housing developers in Nigeria and Africa as a whole to re-assess their strategies and evolve fresh methodologies to meet the exigencies of these times”.
Speaking on the successes recorded in the East and Central African Region by Shelter Afrique, a pan-African Finance Institution, through its ‘Exemplar Housing Initiative, the President explained that the potential benefits could be better harnessed by a wider housing market to achieve housing for the low income earners in other parts of Africa.
He lauded Shelter Afrique’s commitment to further popularize the current best practices for housing delivery in Africa and also called on the Board and Management of the continental Finance Institution to embrace the opportunity of opening new frontiers by investing in low-income houses in Nigeria.
He also appealed to other development partners to invest more in the Nigerian Housing sub-sector to deepen the vibrancy of the country’s housing market.
“I expect that this meeting will come up with a consolidated strategy that would assist national governments across Africa to develop robust systems to deliver affordable housing to the low income on sustainable basis,” the President stressed.
On his part, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola urged delegates at the conference to brainstorm and find lasting solutions to housing challenges in Africa.
In his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Shelter Afrique, Mr. James Mugerwa said that the organization has invested $50 million in the sector and has created 30 million construction workers across the continent.
The theme of AGM & Symposium is “Housing Africa’s Low Income Urban Population”.