THE new Minister of Housing, Ahmed Dangiwa, has been urged to make the issue of real estate/housing data a priority, among others.

This, according to the Executive Director, Housing development Advocacy Network (HDAN), Mr Festus Adebayo, should provide answers to accurate housing deficit data and information on the various categories of housing needs.

While commending President Bola Tinubu for ensuing a full ministry dedicated to housing and hunting the best among professionals in the sector to take up the responsibility of manning the ministry, Adebayo, in a form of agenda setting, urged the new minister to exploit the opportunity of developing cooperative housing in Nigeria, saying this has been used in many countries to bridge the housing deficit gap.

He wants the new minister to also look at the mortgage sector in order to come up with a committee to address challenges confronting the industry.

He pointed out that mortgage development would help create hope for the youth who have plans of leaving the country.

“The new minister must also be ready to identify professionals in the sector, estate developers with excellent reputation, record and performance to work with to deliver mega cities in the different geopolitical zones. With that, the manifesto of APC in delivering houses can be fulfilled.

“There’s also a need to empower the agencies that will be under the new ministry of housing, because some of them as of today are under-performing due to lack of enabling environment and appropriate laws in delivering their services,” the HDAN executive director said.

According to Adebayo, the new minister must also be ready to work with the National Assembly to implement laws that will attract investments in the real estate sector in Nigeria.

He said the minister must single-handedly lead the building of made-in-Nigeria houses models that will make Nigerians to know that it is possible to have made-in-Nigeria houses, even if the input is just 80 percent.

“The new minister must also prioritise protection of consumers and manufacturers of real estate products, there must be transparency and documentation to ease flow of activities.

“For us at HDAN, we strongly believe that there are many international agencies that can be considered to be part of this exercise, especially in the area of finance, due to its importance to the economic development of the country.

“In a nutshell, the new administration must understand that direct construction of housing by the ministry is not the way to go, because the last exercise of direct construction by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing did not go well,” he said.

HDAN decried the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in separating the ministry of works from housing from the outset, saying this negatively impacted housing development in Nigeria.

According to Adebayo, the new housing ministry will play its constitutional role of being an enabler of housing development and championing relevant policies in collaboration with relevant NGOs and professional bodies with less distraction.

“Ministry of Works that is responsible for infrastructures, road, construction etc., is in a bad state, and housing on the other hand is also in a terrible state. And it is in these two areas that citizens can feel the impact of governance.”

“The last ten years, the sector haven’t gotten the required necessary attention, especially in the area of data. As we all know the exact data for housing deficit is still in silos. Notwithstanding, we can say that the housing deficit in Nigeria has increased tremendously without any commiserate effort by the government to solve the problem.

“Yes, some houses were built, but they are not affordable for those who truly need them, and many are located in the outskirts of the town where security becomes a challenge,” he said.