By Perpetua Onuegbu
The Federal Government has solicited the release of 50 hectares of land by state governments to enable it actualise its Renewed Cities Agenda in housing delivery for citizens.
The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa, made this call when the Governor of Taraba, Dr Agbu Kefas, paid him a courtesy visit on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the present administration’s plan to deliver the Renewed Hope Agenda for housing needed the support of states in the provision of land.
Dangiwa said that under the first phase of the project, government planned to build 34,500 houses nationwide using FMBN, FHA and Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to achieve this.
He said that decent, quality and affordable housing for all Nigerians was a major priority of the government, adding that the ministry was working with the National Population Commission (NPC) to establish the actual housing deficit.
“Our findings in house estimates show that for us to meet the housing needs of Nigerians, we need to build about 550,000 new homes per annum over the next ten years.
“That is the massive size of our housing challenge. At the average cost of N8 million this will require about N4.4 trillion per annum.
“Records show that over the past decades, the Federal Agencies, and the Ministry of Housing combined produce less than 15,000 housing units per year.
“A key reason for this is, of course, the big elephant in the room: inadequate access to finance.
“While this is true, I also believe that we have not been innovative enough in finding solutions to meet the challenge in a bold and audacious manner,” he said.
Dangiwa said the good news, however, was that President Bola Tinubu was a proven game-changer who had demonstrated this in all of his policy announcements.
“So, as we acknowledge the challenge before us, we are not frightened by it. Rather, we see it as a golden opportunity to make a difference in the history of affordable housing in our country.
“Already, we have written letters to be sent to all the state governors seeking about 50 hectares of land for renewed hope cities.
“I’m sure that your Excellency will be kind and gracious enough to honour our request,” he said.
Earlier, the governor said that he had come to pay a solidarity visit and pledged his support to the minister to move the ministry forward.
Kefas said the minister was not alien to Taraba, adding that “it is a good place to invest.”
He, therefore, called for collaboration with the ministry in infrastructure development, especially in housing development.
“One of the things I want to bring to your notice is that you have a property in Jalingo and it has been there empty and nobody has occupied it and we do not want it to waste.
“So, we are requesting that we want to take over that property so that we will able to provide accommodation for our civil servants.
“Also, we are available to offer you any land in Taraba to be able to build anything that will benefit our people.
“We are also aware that the ministry has made provision to build a new Federal Secretariat in Taraba state.
“We are very happy about that initiative and we want to assure you that we are ready to give you our support whenever you are ready,” Kefas said.
He, therefore, urged the minister to ensure that the secretariat was built to accommodate all the state ministries. (NAN)