The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has faulted the 17 million often cited as the country’s housing deficit figure.
The minister, on Thursday, said the figure had been used over the years and had been revalidated by all professionals without asking how it was generated.
Fashola, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the 49th National Conference of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, in Lagos, said the continuous use of the 17 million figure was erroneous.
“The figure has remained for many years without adequate data backing; it cannot be substantiated, but it is being repeated and revalidated by various groups,” he said.
While speaking on the theme, ‘A city that works’, he asked estate surveyors and valuers to assist the Federal Government in carrying out an audit of empty and unoccupied houses in the country.
According to him, there is no city in the country without empty and unoccupied houses, adding that valuers owe the country the responsibility of explaining why the houses are empty, for how long they have been empty and what can be done to make them habitable.
He stated that if the evaluation of the unoccupied houses could be done before 2020, it would help the Federal Government to find solutions to the problem of housing deficit in the country.
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, also urged professionals in the built environment, especially estate surveyors and valuers, to help enhance the state’s economy and infrastructure through real estate.
The governor, who was represented at the conference by the Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, said there were so many underutilised and untapped opportunities that could be harnessed to boost infrastructure development and better living standards for the state’s residents.
According to the governor, for a city to work efficiently, it must have infrastructure and technology working together.
“More than 86 persons come into the state on a daily basis without the intention of returning. There is, therefore, a need to create more infrastructure that will match the increasing population which has made existing infrastructure overstretched,” he said.
He stated that Lagos had undergone a lot of infrastructural development processes, but more still needed to be done.
“As a professional body on land management, you hold the key to infrastructure development and wealth creation because there is no human activity that does not happen on land. I believe that this conference will proffer solutions to challenges hindering infrastructure growth in the state and the nation at large,’’ he said.
The President, NIESV, Mr Rowland Abonta, said the government should collaborate with the institution to facilitate effective service delivery in Lagos State as well as the country at large.
He stated that with the support of the government, the contributions of professional bodies to nation building would improve.
Source: Ihua Maduenyi