Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN said that for Nigeria to achieve affordable housing for its teeming population, the Federal Government has to work with the State Governments.
Delivering his keynote address at the 8th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development with the theme: “Housing Development and Consumer Credit as Strategies for National Development” the Minister said that collaboration between the Federal and State Governments was very crucial in achieving affordable houses for Nigerians.
According to the Minister, the basic requirement for building and owning a house is land which is owned and controlled by the states, adding that the urban development and planning is also a matter within the jurisdiction of the states as determined by the Supreme Court. “Whether you can build a filling station, school, business centres is determined by the states,” he explained.
Fashola also noted that the issue of housing deficit in Nigeria is an urban issue. “In our rural areas there is no housing deficit, no traffic and waste management issues, these are mostly prevalent in the urban areas,” he said.
The Minister also described the theme of this year’s Council as apt and carefully chosen as a step towards the ladder of prosperity, adding that, the meeting would afford participants from the Federal level the opportunity to interface with their states counterparts as a foundation for achieving national prosperity.
Continuing, Fashola also said housing projects could add value to Mr. President’s vision of lifting over 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years by creating access to opportunities, income, nutrition, shelter and freedom from diseases.
“By Government’s action in construction sites all over Nigeria, we are reaching out to people and moving them from Poverty to prosperity,” he said.
In his opening remarks the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Musa Bello represented by Engr. Umar Gambo Jibrin, the Executive Secretary Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCDA), said, the theme for this year’s council was pertinent considering the housing deficit challenge the country is currently facing and the lack of financing to tackle it.
He said that, as one of the fastest growing cities in the world, FCT has a major problem of shortage of housing.
While calling on Financial Houses to make a long financing opportunities to address challenges in the housing sector, Bello said that, the process of land administration was transparent and that the Federal Capital Territory Administration was working to ease the collection of certificates of occupancies (C of Os).
Delivering his Goodwill message, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Housing, Senator Sam Egwu said the responsibility of any Government was to provide affordable houses for its citizens.
“We at the National Assembly will provide the legislative support to move the housing sector forward. We are ready to work on any bill sent to us,” he said.
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