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Housing: States Target Increased Partnership with Private sector

State governments are targeting increased partnership with investors in the private sector to address the country’s housing deficit.

Stakeholders in the industry have said housing should be top on the government’s considering how important the construction sector is in the provision of jobs.

Beyond collaboration, they also called for the use of alternative building strategies and the development of more policy frameworks as the nuances and policies that should guide housing development in the country were not in place.

Some state governments recently made the promise to provide an enabling environment and the much-needed cooperation in the delivery of affordable mass housing, with officials noting that efforts to drive such housing models might not be achievable without collaboration with the private sector.

They explained that the private sector should be more positioned so that the government could always look to them for policy advice as the engine of the economy, adding that the biggest goal for stakeholders should be to provide affordable housing for low and medium income earners whose demand for homes should be met through collaboration.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the 13th Abuja Housing Show, which ended on Friday, representatives from states including Edo, Bauchi and Enugu spoke on ongoing housing developments in their states and called for more private sector investments.

Citing the example of the collaborative efforts between Mixta Africa and the Edo State Government, and that of Family Homes Funds and several states, they noted that there was the need for a wider sector collaboration to share ideas and fast-track ongoing efforts.

Some of the state government officials noted that a combination of factors such as land regime, cost of funding, insufficient data, policy summersault, lack of political will and corruption, trust deficit, unprofessional dealings and limited stakeholder cooperation were major barriers to the provision of affordable housing in the country and should be tackled urgently.

They also called for and made pledges for the establishment of more social investment programmes such as the Family Homes Funds, which was said to have completed at least 1,000 homes with about 3,000 others at different stages of development, including 500 housing units in Nasarawa, 750 in Kano and 650 in Delta State, among others.

The stakeholders said it had become urgent to move beyond talks and gave areas of critical interventions as the establishment of housing data base, short and long-term plans to address annual housing needs, creating an enabling environment to attract foreign direct investments, and strengthening housing agencies with adequate funding.

According to the Head of Civil Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, the Federal Government has placed premium on infrastructure development to aid the delivery of affordable housing development in Nigeria.

The Senior Director, Nigeria Country Department of the African Development Bank, Mr Ebrima Faal, said stakeholders, especially those in government should build a sustainable housing environment.

“There are houses and there are homes. A house with hunger is not a home. It is important that the physical infrastructure is accompanied with the well-being of citizens,” Faal, who was represented by the Principal Private Sector Specialist of AfDB, Mr Emmanuel Akinwumi, added.

He also noted that stakeholders in the construction and housing value chain should start thinking out of the box in order to find alternative models of financing mass housing and construction.

A former Managing Director, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company, Prof Charles Inyangete, stated that while the issue of housing deficit was important, the government and other stakeholders must also pay attention to climate change and how it could affect building construction.

He said, “There is the urgent need for more efficient buildings, which will have less demand on power. Green building is the best way forward. We need to encourage re-greening in the environment.

“We need to build the capabilities of our financing and investors to be able to manage climate change risks. We need to collect data because what gets collected is what gets managed. Town planners need to consider the environment while planning. Climate change is not the biggest issue of our time, but the only issue.”

Source: punchng

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