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Housing Regulations, Enabling Policies captured in current Legislative Agenda — Senate President

-By Danlami Nasir Isah

The 13th Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) kicked-off Tuesday 23rd July 2019 at the International Conference Centre in Abuja with over 60 local and international companies participating. The show which was organized by FESADEB Communication Limited has “Driving Sustainable Housing Finance Models In the Midst of Global Uncertainty” as the theme.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the four days event, the Senate President, Sen. Ahmad Lawan disclosed that the amendment of Land Use Act and National Housing Fund (NHF), enactment of housing regulations and enabling policies are captured in the legislative agenda of the 9th Senate of the National Assembly.

Sen. Ahmad Lawan, Senate President

Lawan was hopeful that all policies required to get Nigerians closer to their collective dreams would be achieved, even as he looked forward to receiving the recommendations made by stakeholders at the end of the show.

The Senate President commended the organisers for creating the platform for all major stakeholders in housing and construction, to dialogue on developing issues and proffer sustainable solutions that would improve the quantity and quality of housing delivery in the country.

The Senate President who was represented by Sen. Ashiru Oyinlola, recognized the importance of housing and the need for the participants to influence housing policies.

In his speech, the Managing Director of African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who was represented by Mr. Emmanuel Akinwumi harped on the need for federal government to domesticate the production of building materials in order to reduce the over 17 million housing deficit in the country. He said that it is impossible for Africans to have quality of life if they live in ramshackle houses, adding that there is a need for every Nigerian to have a decent home.

The AfDB boss emphasized that instead of wasting resources by well-to-do Nigerians in building mansions that they cannot live in just as the cases of the big houses in Abuja, u should, instead, build small rentable houses that can be useful to others.

According to Mr. Adesina, affordable houses should not be restricted to homes alone but should be extended to hostels to provide accommodation affordable to students.

Mariam Uwais, Special Adviser to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, revealed that in 2017, government budgeted N100 billion for housing and have done very well in – Job Creation, Feeding Programs and National Safety aid Programs among others.

Ibrahim Bunu, former FCT Minister

Also speaking, the former minister of environment, Alh. Suleiman Hassan Zarma described the show as significant platform for stakeholders on how to enrich the sector.

He pointed out that issues of land administration, insufficient data, shortage of finance and unprofessional dealing are the major problems militating against the delivery of mass housing in Nigeria.

While delivering his remarks, Bauchi state Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed who was a former minister of the federal capital territory, outlined the proactive measures taken by the Bauchi State government in ensuring housing for all. The governor who was represented by the state permanent secretary, ministry of Housing, Alhaji Magaji Dahuwa, said the state has commenced National Housing Fund (NHF) contribution to the Federal Mortgaged Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), adding that civil servants have benefitted from the loan.

Also speaking, former FCT Minister, Ibrahim Bunu, gave government credit for the reduction in housing deficit, but however, called on participants to strive for more innovations in order to enhance more job creation.

The representative of the permanent secretary, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Dickson Onojah, in a goodwill message, outlined the achievements of his ministry, which he said are; promotion of locally-sourced building materials in Nigeria, periodic review of the national housing plan goals, bridging housing deficit, engaging PPP in creating data base and Ministerial loan scheme among others.

Awards were presented to some dignitaries who have contributed to the development in affordable housing and financing at the event. The recipients included: Hajiya Hannatu Fika, Executive Secretary of the Federal Government Staff Housing Loan Board and Town Planner Umar Shuaibu, former Co-ordinator of Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC).