…tasks professionals on affordable, livable housing designs
As a response to the increasing difficulties in building and owning homes in Nigeria, Ahmed Dangiwa, the minister for housing and urban development, says top on the list of his priorities for the ministry are increased access to land and affordable housing delivery.
Dangiwa has, therefore, charged professionals in the ministry to think outside the box to provide solutions to the country’s housing problems.
The minister, who gave the charge at a meeting with heads of departments in the ministry, told the professional, who are mainly architects and town planners, to use their knowledge and expertise to produce innovative housing designs that are affordable and livable.
He told them also to take the lead in researching and developing housing designs that are, in reality, affordable, acceptable, and accessible to Nigerians, particularly low and medium-income earners who, he said, constitute over 80 percent of the Nigerian population.
“We must prioritize the 80 percent 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” the minister stressed.
He charged Heads of Departments in the ministry to come up with innovative measures and ideas that would help the ministry achieve its mandate of providing affordable housing, increasing access to land, and ensuring the sustainable development of urban and rural areas and communities nationwide.
Dangiwa who received detailed briefings from the minister’s principal officers of the ministry explained that the tasks he gave were part of a broad range of reform actions that he planned to take to ensure that the ministry was properly re-aligned along the path of enhanced efficiency to enable it perform its functions optimally towards making greater impact as stated in its mandate.
To underscore the seriousness he attached to the mandate, 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 could afford.
“The conceptual designs should be organic,” he directed, explaining that a family could start with one bedroom and, as their incomes increased, 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 explained that an affordable house should be reasonably priced and within the financial means of individuals and families with lower incomes, adding that such a house should not cost more than 30 percent 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 N7million,” he said.
The minister also assigned the Urban and Regional Planning Directorate the task of collaborating with the National Assembly to formulate an actionable framework for initiating the review of the Land Use Act of 1978 as, according to him, it was crucial for facilitating affordable housing delivery. He noted that the Act contained outdated provisions and, so, no longer fully serves its original purpose due to the passage of time.