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Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has revealed that the Federal government was considering the option of encouraging Small and Medium Enterprise practitioners to make commitment in skills development that will benefit the housing sector.

This is even as he disclosed that the present administration will also make  use of technology as vehicle for sustainable and affordable housing in Nigeria.

Fashola stated this while declaring open a two-day Affordable Housing Summit in Abuja. The Summit, with the theme: “Developing a Blueprint for Affordable Housing in Nigeria” was a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, German Development Cooperation (giz) and many other developers.

According to him, the artisans who contribute substantially to the development of the housing industry need to be properly empowered, both with relevant knowledge and resources. He argued that such gesture will not only scale up activities in the sector but will also reduce social and family tensions.

Affordable Housing Summit, said to have been  created as a platform to facilitate dialogue and workshop with key stakeholders in the housing industry to develop a blueprint in delivering affordable housing in Nigeria , is expected, for the two days provide opportunity for policy makers, investors and other key players in the industry to interface and find a way forward.

The groups and organisations attending the summit, allegedly represent over fifty million Nigerians. The participants who are from various cluster groups in the housing industry; includes town planning, construction, architecture and the built environment will at the end of the summit put together a Nigerian Affordable Housing Plan for onward presentation to the present administration for actions.

The Minister assured that the government will drive the long overdue change in the housing subsector by taking advantage of technology to develop materials locally for housing developers. This is even as he said that his ministry will also encourage Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) as veritable platform for achieving the set goals for affordable and sustainable housing.

He went further to state that not until there is a unity of purpose among stakeholders, in terms of properly defining what is affordability, when it comes to housing, what the off-takers want and how to satisfy their needs, the  challenge facing the housing subsector may not be resolved.

“If our purposes and plans are not united we are going to find it difficult to achieve our goal, I think the best courtesy call that we can have is for all of to come together under one meeting like this one, discussing the problems and finding a common solution, I think this summit is the first step towards achieving that”, he said.

Earlier in his remarks, Mr. Torsten Schlink, Head of SEDIN Programme of GIZ, German Development Cooperation, said that getting a correct blueprint for affordable housing will not only help to unify the purposes of the stakeholders, but will go a long way in surmounting the challenges facing the sector.

He added that since providing affordable housing means giving shelter to the masses, the issue should be given the deserved attention. He also reiterated the resolve of his agency to continue to support the program of housing in Nigeria.

The Chief Executive Officer of Trademore Estates, Dr. Emmanuel Mbaka in his remarks, said that the figure being bandied as what represents the deficit in the Nigerian housing sector may be Questioned, but the truth remains that there is a shortfall in housing supply.

Mbaka urged the Federal government to consider financial intervention for the housing sector as it has done in the other sectors of the nation’ economy.

He was optimistic that going by the available indices in the sector since Fashola assumed office to oversee the housing sector, Nigeria will definitely overcome the challenges currently facing it.

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