Nigeria's Housing Ministry Focuses on Land Access and Affordable Housing Solutions
In response to the escalating challenges faced by Nigerians in building and owning homes, Ahmed Dangiwa, the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, has underscored the pressing need to address land access and the delivery of affordable housing. Dangiwa's vision for the ministry is centered on innovative solutions that can revolutionize the housing sector in the country, making it more accessible and inclusive.
During a meeting with department heads within the ministry, Minister Dangiwa emphasized the importance of thinking creatively to navigate the intricate housing challenges Nigeria faces. He specifically urged professionals in fields like architecture and town planning to leverage their expertise and knowledge to devise pioneering housing designs that are both cost-effective and conducive to sustainable living.
Furthermore, Dangiwa exhorted these professionals to lead the way in conducting research and development aimed at producing housing designs that are genuinely affordable, acceptable, and accessible for the majority of Nigerians, particularly those with low to medium incomes. He reiterated the vital role that this demographic plays in the nation, constituting over 80 percent of the 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 emphasized.
To propel this vision forward, the Minister called upon the Heads of Departments to devise innovative strategies and ideas that will help the ministry achieve its multifaceted mandate. This mandate includes providing affordable housing, increasing access to land, and ensuring the sustainable development of both urban and rural areas across the nation. Dangiwa elaborated that these directives form part of a comprehensive reform agenda designed to enhance the ministry's efficiency, enabling it to fulfill its obligations optimally and create a more significant impact in line with its mission.
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Highlighting the gravity of this mission, the Minister established a Committee on Affordable Housing Design. This committee was charged with the task of formulating at least three distinct housing concepts that would be accessible to the average Nigerian. Dangiwa's vision for these conceptual designs is one of adaptability and evolution. He articulated that families could start with a one-bedroom design and, as their financial means improved, seamlessly expand the same structure to accommodate two or three bedrooms. This approach would enable flexible growth on the same land plot.
A critical aspect of the Minister's strategy is defining what constitutes an affordable house. He outlined that such homes should be reasonably priced, falling within the financial means of individuals and families with lower incomes. Dangiwa's vision pegs the cost of such dwellings at no more than 30 percent of a household's income. Within this framework, he suggested that the desired range for an affordable house that an average Nigerian could realistically afford would fall between N4 to N7 million.
Dangiwa's commitment extended to collaborating with the Urban and Regional Planning Directorate. He called for concerted efforts with the National Assembly to devise a workable framework for reviewing the Land Use Act of 1978. As he pointed out, this legislative act holds significant importance in facilitating affordable housing delivery. However, the Minister recognized that certain provisions have become outdated and do not effectively serve the original purpose of the act due to the passage of time.
In essence, Minister Dangiwa's multifaceted approach to housing reform in Nigeria paints a comprehensive picture of his commitment to making housing more attainable, sustainable, and equitable for all citizens. With innovative housing concepts, collaborative efforts, and a resolute focus on affordability, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development is poised to shape a more inclusive future for the nation's housing landscape.