Here’s what Dangiwa plans to do in quest for credible housing data
Ahmed Dangiwa, Nigeria's Minister for Housing and Urban Development, has expressed deep concern over the lack of credible data on housing and the state of towns and communities in the country.
Dangiwa, who brings over 30 years of experience in the housing sector
to his role as minister, emphasizes that the absence of reliable data poses a significant obstacle to effective planning, budgeting, and investment in the housing sector. He further expresses his unease with the fact that industry experts have provided varying estimates of Nigeria's housing deficit over the years, ranging from 17 million to 28 million units, all without substantiated evidence.
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In an interview, he states, "Addressing this issue is a top priority for me. Firstly, I plan to ensure that, as a ministry focused on policy formulation, we establish a robust policy, research, and statistics framework within the ministry." This framework will involve qualified personnel and collaboration with data consultants to conduct the first government-sponsored nationwide housing survey
, aimed at scientifically determining the actual housing shortage in the country.
Dangiwa stresses that it is the government's responsibility to lead this effort and not rely on extrapolations from foreign bodies and institutions. He envisions creating a knowledge base within the ministry to institutionalize data collation practices and plans to collaborate with the National Population Commission (NPC) to leverage the next nationwide census for gathering housing data.
Regarding the 1978 Land Use Act, widely considered a major impediment to housing sector growth
, Dangiwa assures that he will work closely with the National Assembly to facilitate its review. He acknowledges that land is a vital requirement for sustainable housing delivery and lists challenges associated with land acquisition, such as availability, accessibility, ownership rights, security of tenure, and the absence of land use plans.
The minister notes that while the Act was originally intended to streamline land availability for development, its inclusion in the Constitution has inadvertently constrained housing delivery. He points out other issues, including the Act's inflexibility, vesting of lands in states and the presidency, cumbersome procedures for obtaining Certificates of Occupancy, and restrictions on private developers.
In conclusion, Dangiwa highlights that the Act's objectives have not been fully realized since its enactment in 1978, emphasizing the need for comprehensive reform in the housing sector.