From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja

As part of measures to build a N1 trillion-dollar economy and bridge the housing deficit gap, President Bola Tinubu has removed all legal impediments towards owning cheap houses in the Nigeria.

These legal encumbrances include
a thorough review and facilitation of necessary legislative amendments of relevant housing industry laws including the National Housing Fund (NHF) Act,1992; Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) Establishment Act, 1993; Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Act,1973, and PenCom Act (to allow for increased investment in housing).

While inaugurating four reform task teams, yesterday, in Abuja to kick-started a comprehensive housing sector reforms, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Architect Ahmed Musa Dangiwa directed housing agencies to ensure that they deliver decent and affordable houses to Nigerians.

“We have engaged a consultant to provide a framework for the establishment of the National Social Housing Fund. This will effectively deliver the government’s desire to provide houses for the low income earners and the vulnerable in the society,” he assured.

Irked by the low performance of some housing agencies under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Minister wondered why Federal Housing Authority (FHA), with all the supports it has received from both the government, national assembly and the private sector, could deliver only 50,000 houses since inception 50 years ago.

“It is disheartening to note that the housing finance development agencies have been performing sub-optimally. If you look at FHA for example, it is an agency that is expected to provide houses for all segments of the society, including the low income, middle-income and high income. They have received tremendous supports from government to carry out their mandate.

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“Each occasion the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) is opening new districts in Abuja, a large portion of land is always reserved for the Authority.

“When they request for land from state governments, they are always obliged. And for this, there is no reason why they should not be able to build houses in large numbers. They also have options to approach the capital market for housing development.

“Similarly, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) is expected to lead mortgage financing in the country. They should meet the needs of Nigerians for easy access to mortgages.

“They should also explore capital market but their performance leaves much to be desired. Our reforms will therefore be very comprehensive” Dangiwa further explained.

Pained by the failure of successive governments to meet the housing needs of Nigerians, the minister said that the housing sector contribution to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) hasn’t moved in any significant way over the 60 years.

“Over the 60 years of Nigeria’s independence, we have witnessed successive governments roll out a series of housing development plans and policies. Despite these plans, our country has sadly failed to meet the housing needs of Nigerians as we still grapple with a huge housing deficit. Housing sector contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) hasn’t moved in any significant way over the past several decades,” he stated.

The task teams which were inaugurated yesterday, include, Housing Institutions Reform Task Team, Multi-Agency Project Delivery Team, Land Reform Task Team and Building Materials Manufacturing Hubs Task Team.