A roadmap for housing delivery in Nigeria which focuses on the majority and most vulnerable Nigerians has been unveiled at Shelter Afrique’s annual general meeting and symposium held in Abuja.
Nigeria’s Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola who made the announcement, said the roadmap places emphasis on planning which, the minister believes, is key to successful execution, requiring a clear understanding of who needs the house provisions. Fashola said:
“The first key to our roadmap in housing is planning and we must never get tired of explaining the necessity and importance of proper planning. It is the key to successful execution, it is the key to project completion, cost control and reduction in variation requests and financial calculations.”
The Minister recalled that over the years, Nigeria had embarked on a series of housing initiatives but not one of them had been pursued with consistency or any measurable sustainability, disclosing that in his ministry they were convinced that these unsustainable efforts must change and give way to a sustainable and well thought out initiative.
“We are convinced that this change must be led by government and subsequently driven by the private sector,” he said, citing the public housing initiative of the United Kingdom, which was started by government in 1918 and, as of 2014, 64.8 percent of UK’s 53 million people were home owners.
He also cited the Singaporean housing initiative which was initialized by their government in 1960 and had now provided housing for 80 per cent of its 3 million people. Fashola pointed out that the similarities with both models was the uniformity of designs, a space, electrical and mechanical, and a common concept of neighborhood.
Re-emphasising the focus of the plan on the low-income earners and the most vulnerable, the Minister also recognised that there were people who wanted land to build for themselves, and also those who want town houses and duplexes, whether detached or semi-detached.
But according to him, these class of people are not in the majority and so, they are not part of the target of the plan. He explained:
“The people who we must focus on are those in the majority and those who are most vulnerable. Such people include those who graduated from university about five years ago and more; people who are in the income bracket of grade level nine to 15 in the public service and their counterparts, which include taxi drivers, market men and women, farmers, artisans who earn the same range of income.”
The ministry, he said, will conduct a survey of the people to determine what they expect and what they could pay so as to evolve agreeable housing types, between two and four designs that had a broad, national cultural acceptance, and standardise those designs to enable them design moulds to accelerate the number of houses to be built.
He concluded by saying that:
“Our plan requires us to standardise the size of our doors, windows, our toilet and bath fittings, our lighting fittings and other accessories so that our small and medium enterprises can respond to supply all the building materials, create diversification and jobs, and ensure that projects are completed with a steady supply of materials.”