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Jonathan says N56t needed to address housing deficit

By The Citizen
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President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday said the country had a housing deficit of about 17 million which required more than N56 trillion to remedy and improve the home ownership rate of 25 per cent.

Jonathan who was represented by the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, said this at the 53rd General Assembly of the Nigerian Institute of Architects in Abuja.

He said that his administration was aware of the conditions and the challenges facing settlements as the demand for infrastructure, basic services and housing was on the increase.

According to him, housing associated facilities are grossly inadequate while millions of citizens live in substandard environments or slums plagued by squalor and lacking basic amenities of life.

“Statistics show that Nigeria has a housing deficit of about 17 million units. This shortfall alone minus infrastructure requires over N56 trillion.

“This is (at an average cost of N3.5million per housing unit) to remedy and improve on the nation's prevailing home ownership rate of 25 per cent.

“To reverse this trend, my government recently announced plans to establish the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Corporation, intended to provide funding for the housing and construction sector.''

“The NMRC will be private-sector driven ,and established as a PPP initiative ,with partners including the Federal Government, Nigeria commercial banks and savings and loans institution with World Bank which is providing concessional credits of $300 million''.

Jonathan urged the association to continue to serve as a voice and platform for robust private sector mobilisation and community participation towards the achievement of sustainable urbanisation.

He added that the fact that the challenge of urban development continue to increase is a reminder to all not to become complacent but proactive in housing affairs.

He said a situation whereby skilled and semi-skilled jobs in the industry are taken over by artisans from neighbouring countries was unacceptable.

He added that the construction industry should be able to absorb the critical mass of the unemployed youths.

He said to achieve this capacity of the youths must first be built, adding that that was the aim of the establishment of the National Institute of Construction Technology.

He urged the association to work with the institute to achieve its aim while reiterating his administration's commitment to supporting it.

Earlier, Ibrahim Haruna,the President of the association, said it was founded in 1960 with the objective of promoting the practice of the profession of architecture in Nigeria.

Haruna said It has approximately 6000 full members, associates, graduates and student members in 32 State Chapters.

He said the NIA conducts examinations with the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria, and be may called to arbitrate in cases of dispute on liability.