The federal government has joined forces with stakeholders in the construction, research, standardisation and building materials sector to harmonise the quality of materials in order to avert incidences of building collapse. The minister of power, works & housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, stated this in Abuja yesterday at the 6th national housing summit, organised by Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) with the theme: ‘Alternative Building Technique for Mass Housing’. To this end, he disclosed that the ministry was currently reviewing the curriculum of centres for the training of artisans, which he described as a sure strategy towards the delivery of quality and durable houses. Fashola stated that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) now grants up to N5 million loans with zero equity while N15 million loan would attract a personal equity contribution of 10 per cent as against the initial 30 per cent.
The minister, who was represented by the director of lands in the ministry, Esv Temitope Olayinka, informed that the initiative would enable more people to access mortgages, deepen the market, support housing production and grow the economy. Also speaking, the minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Mohammed Bello, lamented that FCT account for 10 per cent of national housing deficit , saying that the administration was providing practicable solutions to address the housing needs of the residents. Bello,who was represented by his chief of staff, Mai Borno, maintained that the administration has improved the processing of land documents through the resuscitation of land use committee. On his part, the president of NIESV, Rowland Abonta, emphasised that the adoption of suitable techniques and technology for mass housing development would definitely reduce high cost of housing and improve access to housing for all Nigerians.
He called on federal government to enforce the provisions of the National Housing Fund (NHF) act of 1992 which has the capacity to attract funds from various sectors of the economy into the mortgage market. This he believed, would make housing affordable particularly for the low income group, saying that the conventional building methods would not produce the needed housing units to bridge the deficit. Abonta harped on the need to make systematic land titling programme of the presidential committee on land reforms mandatory in all states of the federation, adding that the programme has a target of ensuring that all parcels of land in Nigeria receives a befitting title under the land use act. He however enjoined federal government to establish a reliable housing database in Nigeria and periodically update such data for effective housing development planning, to be achieved through a professionally conducted national housing survey.