The Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola has described as not realistic the claim that there is over 17 million housing deficit in the country.
Fashola, who disputed the claim, while speaking Friday in Abuja during the inauguration of the Board for the federal housing authority, FHA, said the claim could not justified because of huge numbers of empty houses scattered around the country.
According to the Minister, “There is housing deficit in urban areas no doubt but there are empty houses in the rural areas and even in the urban centres where there is the deficit.
“There are empty houses across the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Onitsha, Asaba, there are empty houses all over the major urban centres of Nigeria.”
He said that the board inauguration will enable the appointees to participate in the decision-making process that will affect the lives of millions of Nigerians, who will partake and benefit from the prosperity that a housing economy offers.
He added that the policy of the government is to deliver affordable housing, acceptable to Nigerians, saying the agencies are the implementing arms “for housing delivery through FHA.
“This board has a very strong mobilization as in terms of grassroots mobilization. It also has a strong professional as we find out and they also have the capacity to build the economy and they will bring all of that capacity to play as we discover.
“So it looks to be very exciting as we look ahead and I hope that the chairman and the board will harness the capacity that this board is capable of delivering.
“Let me speak to our own growth policy about housing. The growth policy about housing is affordable houses,” he said.
He charges the new board to build more federal housing estates like the one they built in Gwarimpa and others. So that it will accommodate more Nigerians.
While commending the outgoing members of the board, the minister further charged the new 13-board member led by Senator Lawal Shuaibu as Chairman to explore the ongoing development agenda of the present administration, especially in the area of job creation.
He said one of the priorities of the government is the building of infrastructure which according to him has helped in creating jobs for the teeming population in both formal and informal sectors.
Fashola while further speaking challenged them to deliver on the mandate of the agency by embarking on the building of new cities and other housing projects in order to cater to the accommodation needs of Nigerians.
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