The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) is to work with other agencies on the development of a national housing profile for the country.
Its Managing Director, Prof Mohammed Al-Amin, made this known during a visit to the UN-HABITAT Programme Office in Abuja, where he received by its Programme Officer, Mr. Kabir Yari.
According to him, the initiative has become necessary because of the unreliability of the country’s housing statistics.
Al-Amin noted that though an attempt was made to incorporate a housing census into the 2006 national headcount, the data obtained from the exercise was unreliable. That failure, he said, was due to the defective nature of the tool designed for it. For instance, enumerators were only trained on how to capture data on individuals and not housing units.
He noted that the lack of reliable housing data had arm-strung proper planning and called for concerted efforts to address the situation.
The FHA chief, however, expressed doubt about the authenticity of the 17 million housing deficit figure being bandied in various quarters, saying such figure has not been proven. The FHA, he explained, is in touch with the National Population Commission (NPC), which he disclosed has indicated that it would embark on a proper housing count during the next population census. He, therefore, urged the UN-HABITAT to make its expertise available to ensure the success of the exercise.
Al-Amin said the FHA was keen to participate in the implementation of the resolutions of the just concluded Habitat III- the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development held in Quito, Ecuador.
Expressing regret that Nigeria had not been taking advantage of platforms opened to it by international organisations, he said FHA was poised to participate in the follow-up to Habitat III at the national, sub-regional and regional levels.
He said FHA was also eager to work with the United Nations’ agency on critical housing issues, such as slum development and the rising housing deficit in the country to improve the quality of urban life.
Yari noted that the UN-HABITAT had helped many nations to develop their housing policies but expressed regret that monitoring and implementation had been the bane of policies in Nigeria.
He said a nation should, with available statistics to project into how many houses it would need for its populace in the short, medium and long term.
He said his agency and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had projected that the global population of urban dwellers would rise to three billion by 2050.
In view of that projection, he said it was important for policy makers to be on guard to ensure the availability of adequate waste disposal facilities and sustainable use of resources. Yari noted that low income earners who formed the bulk of the housing need base got their housing mostly from the informal sector, adding that he was characterised by acute lack of infrastructure.
He said if nations could get it right with pro-poor housing, they would reach the majority of those who needed housing.
Yari, who pointed out that the UN-HABITAT was not a funding agency, promised to provide technical assistance to the FHA in the execution of its programmes.