By Dotun Omolaja, Lagos
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has identified a workable planning framework as the panacea to the nationâ€™s housing deficit.
Speaking at the 35th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Shelter Afrique in AbujaÂ on Wednesday, Fashola said to meet the real demand of Nigerians in housing, it would be expedient for government to embark on proper planning.
He added that planning remains the key to project completion, cost control and reduction in variation requests as well as financial calculations.
While noting that what the country now has as a National Housing Policy was only a Policy Statement and not a plan, he declared, â€œWe must never be tired to explain the necessity and importance of proper planning. It is the key to successful execution, it is the key to project completion, and it is the key to cost control and reduction in variation requests and financial calculations.
â€œI acknowledge that there is, for example, a National Housing Policy of 2012. Some have chosen to call it a plan. To the extent that it is a broad statement of intent about providing housing, it is a policy statementâ€, the Minister said adding that his Ministry was currently developing the needed plan to make the housing policy a reality.
Elaborating further on the plans of his ministry in the area of housing delivery, Fashola, added, â€œI recognize that there are people who want land to build for themselves, there are also people who want to own houses and duplexes, whether detached or semi-detached.â€
According to him, â€œThe people who we must focus on are those in the majority and those who are most vulnerable; the people who are in the bracket of those who graduated from University about five years ago and more. People who are in the income bracket of grade level 9 to 15 in the public service and their counterparts, taxi drivers, market men and women, farmers, artisans who earn the same range of incomeâ€.
Fashola said to capture the target population, the Ministry needed to conduct a survey to determine what they expect and what they could pay as well as evolve agreeable housing types, between two to four designs that have a broad, national cultural acceptance adding that there was need also to standardize the designs â€œso that we can then design moulds to accelerate the number that can be builtâ€.
Also the plan requires the standardization of the size of doors, windows, toilet and bath fittings, lighting fittings and other accessories so that the small and medium enterprises could â€œrespond to supply all the building materials, create diversification and jobs; and ensure that projects are completed with a steady supply of materialsâ€.
Other requirements in his Ministryâ€™s plans, the Minister said, include ensuring that the designs reflect behavioral patterns of Nigerians, such as adequate storage, and other lifestyle needs, that there is ready water supply, power supply, waste and sewage management and paying attention to the transport needs and land density prescriptions of the communities that are built.
The plans also include ensuring that the process of issuing legal title is in place and focus on post-construction maintenance to ensure that the houses remain in good condition after they have been sold to the owners.