The Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has reiterated the importance of synergy between the federal government and the private sector in the built industry in the provision of mass housing to Nigerians. He said the federal government must find a way to exploit the Private Sector participation in the industry especially in the area of local content manufacturing of building materials, noting that it would help reduce prices of the materials and subsequently the cost of the houses.
He made this known during an inspection visit to some selected sites and polysterene manufacturing company in Abuja. He said the visit was a follow up to the claims by some sponsors in the built industry during the Affordable Housing Summit held in Abuja earlier in the year that they had all the machineries to partner with the federal government in delivering affordable mass housing to Nigerians.
The minister who expressed satisfaction with what he saw on ground, noted that the concepts of acceptability and affordability were significant and must be factored into any system the federal government intends to adopt in the sector, adding that the low and middle income earners in Nigeria may not be interested in most of the houses available on ground at the moment, though beautiful and accepted but because they are mostly not affordable and said government was committed to initiate policies that would address the situation.
At the Citec building and manufacturing factory in Mbora District, Abuja, The minister who was conducted round the factory by the Managing Director, Engr. Bello inspected EPS Polystyerene, a building raw material made from petrochemical products and is being used to construct facials used in deckings for storey buildings. Other building materials included, wire mesh which acts as load bearing on the wall and sandwich for constructing portakabins. The company also manufactures doors and windows.
The minister said more companies using polystyerene would be encouraged as houses built with it are cheaper, noise proof, self fire extinguishing and does not need the use of air conditioners because it regulates the weather, adding that for the concept of acceptability and affordability to be meaningful to Nigerians, government must do its best to bring down the cost of owning a house.
He said as part of efforts to assist Nigerians own houses with less burdens, the Federal Mortgage Bank has been repositioned to better perform its statutory function so that government on its part would concentrate more on ensuring the provision of acceptable housing designs.
The minister also visited building sites including: Braines and Hammers at Life Camp and Galadimawa, Sunny Vale at Logokoma and Rockvale at Gudu. He expressed satisfaction that Nigerian youths were being engaged at the sites in various trades such as masons, building sewage plants, iron mongering, and so on, noting that it has shown that the built sector is important in reducing the unemployment rate in the country.
Originally published in Daily Trust