The Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, has revealed plans to unveil a strategic housing and urban development blueprint, containing details of priorities, initiatives, reforms, and plans.

He also want to facilitate the N500 billion recapitalisation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), provide it with leverage and enhance its ability to offer more affordable mortgage loans, as well as rent-to-own options to Nigerians.

He emphasised that all professionals within the ministry must take their roles seriously and contribute their quota towards achieving this objective. “As a ministry staffed with professional architects, we must use our knowledge and expertise to produce innovative housing designs that are affordable and liveable.

“We must prioritise the 80 per cent of Nigerians that are within the low to medium income segment. They too are Nigerians and deserve to live in decent, safe, and quality homes” he stated.

To achieve this, the minister set up a Committee on Affordable Housing Design and tasked its members to develop a minimum of three different housing concepts that an average Nigerian can afford. He directed that the conceptual designs should be organic. “This means a family can start with a one bedroom and as their incomes increase expand that same house to a two bedroom or three bedrooms over time on the same parcel of land by attaching one or two walls as the case may be,” he said.

Dangiwa further clarified that an affordable house that is reasonably priced and within the financial means of individuals and families with lower incomes. He said that such a house should not cost more than 30 per cent of a household’s income. This includes rent or mortgage payments, as well as utilities and maintenance costs. This puts the preferred cost of a house that an average Nigerian can afford at within the range of N4 to N7 million.

Dangiwa, who spoke to The Guardian, also plans reform of FMBN, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), and other housing agencies, ensuring they possess the necessary capacity and technological edge to deliver world-class services to Nigerians.

“Our goal is to ensure that these strategic agencies are more effective and efficient in delivering decent and quality housing to Nigerians on a massive scale. By doing so, we will also harness the immense power of the construction industry to generate jobs and contribute to achieving the president’s plan to grow the economy, foster inclusive growth, and uplift 100 million Nigerians from poverty,” he said.

MEANWHILE, the minister has directed the Heads of Departments to come up with innovative measures and ideas that will help achieve its mandate of providing affordable housing, increasing access to land, and ensuring the sustainable development of urban and rural areas.

He also directed the Urban and Regional Planning Directorate to collaborate with the National Assembly to formulate an actionable framework for the review of the Land Use Act (LUA) of 1978 as it is crucial for facilitating affordable housing delivery.

Dangiwa noted that the Act contains outdated provisions and no longer fully serves its original purpose due to the passage of time.

Dangiwa issued this directive on the first day of receiving Detailed Briefings from the Principal Officers of the Ministry. This is part of a broad range of reform actions that he plans to take to ensure that the ministry is properly re-aligned along the path of enhanced efficiency to enable it to perform its functions optimally towards delivering greater impact as stated in its mandate.

This includes ensuring that the ministry, which is mostly staffed by professional architects and town planners, takes the lead in researching and developing housing designs that are, in reality, actually affordable, acceptable, and accessible to Nigerians, particularly low and medium-income earners, who constitute over 80 per cent of the Nigerian population.