BY FRANCIS KADIRI, ABUJA
The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, says his Ministry has identified the Nigerian Institute of Building as a core partner that will play professional roles in the actualization of the actionable plans of the Tinubu administration for the housing sector.
He said the institute will work with the ministry to implement the New Cities project of the Federal Government; a development he said will involve the acquisition of lands from state governments for real estate development purposes, towards lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty as targeted by the government.
The minister, who made the disclosure while responding to appeals made by the President of the Institute, Alderton Ewa Ewa during a visit of the NIOB Executive Council to the Minister, in Abuja, described the NIOB as one of the drivers of the set goal of the President Tinubu administration. He thanked the council members for the visit, and assured that it was vital to collaborate with the NIOB.
Together, the bodies will establish new cities, reform the Land Use Reform, conclude the National Building Code, facilitate innovative development of housing models, and the implementation of other actionable plans that will lead to the realization of the government’s set goal to get 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
Discussing some challenges that the government seeks to address with the professional support of the Institute, the minister said, “When it comes to housing, we are here to solve a lot of problems together. They include the challenges of rapid urbanization, housing production, mitigating housing deficits in the country, enforcement of housing quality and standards and the issue of informal settlements,” adding that NIOB is a professional body and in the best position to work with the ministry of housing to proffer solutions to the challenges.
The minister disclosed that the government will soon begin the implementation of an “actionable plan that will drive the process of actualizing the set goals of the administration,” adding that housing reform is a major aspect of the process.
“President Bola Tinubu has mandated the Ministry to form a committee that will ensure that the entire housing sector is reformed so that it will function effectively,” he added.
“The NIOB is one of the arms of this ministry and we have to work together because professional bodies like you are meant to provide leadership especially in their own professions,” he stressed.
He said the NIOB will provide guidance, not only to the minister, but to the entire profession, adding that the ministry was already working to engage the institute.
“We came on board to ensure that the set goals of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu are actualized. One of them is to grow the economy and then to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty,” the minister said, adding that there is a need to create an enabling environment to achieve the set goals.
While saying that the housing construction sector is very instrumental to the realization of the seat goals, he assured that the ministry will work with NIOB to deliver the job creation potentials of the sector to Nigerians.
“Construction is one of the surest ways of ensuring that we grow the economy and lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty while also creating an enabling environment for sustainability.
“Another assignment has to do with reforming the Land Use reform. This issue is long overdue. The ministry has started discussing who the members should be. Interestingly, the NIOB featured prominently in all of these set goals. So, you (NIOB) will be included in the committee as one of the drivers that will ensure the success of the reform,” he said.
Responding to the quest for acquisition of land for housing development across the country, the minister commended the idea, saying that the government had already considered it.
“That idea is also among the concepts we are considering. The Tinubu administration is poised to establish new cities. This involves collaboration with State Governments to give us lands in order to do the needful. This is another area that the government looks forward to collaborating with the NIOB,” he added.
He said the Federal Government must strengthen the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria by capitalizing it for effective mandate delivery.
He assured the visiting NIOB Executive Council that the government understands the need for the passage of the National Building Code.
According to the minister, “the Code has already been done but we are making some few amendments to it,” adding that professional bodies like NIOB must be given the opportunity to identify issues that ought to be adjusted in the Building Code for effective utilization.
Earlier, President of the Institute, Alderton Ewa Ewa discussed the objective of the visit.
While expressing confidence in the ability of the minister to progressively pilot the affairs of the housing sector, Ewa said the Institute desires to collaborate with the ministry on various aspects that will lead to the realization of set goals.
“We want to use this privileged courtesy visit to outline some suggestions which may not be new to you, but which will facilitate the success of the affordable housing programme in the country,” he said, adding that the government should seek lands across States of the federation for real estate development purposes.
He said, “We implore our honorable minister to seek release of land for housing development in all the States of the federation and the FCT,” adding that state governments have a crucial role to play in reducing the country’s housing deficit.
“States across the federation should allocate lands to competent real estate developers,” he advised.
According to Ewa Ewa, the government needs to recapitalize the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria while ensuring judicious utilization of mortgage funds, adding that mortgage banks should be encouraged to give loans to real estate developers at affordable interest rates and collateral, and should be monitored for refund.
Emphasizing the need to collaborate with estate developers, the NIOB President appealed to the minister to convene a roundtable with real estate practitioners on compliance with building regulations.
He called on the Ministry to further engage the Senate and House of Representatives toward enacting the National Building Code, stating that the delays associated with the Code is one of the challenges responsible for the spate of building collapse in the country.
“The minister should create an avenue where all the professional bodies in the built environment would come together for the success of building production in the country,” Ewa said.