The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, says the major challenges of housing development in the country are financing, affordability and acceptability.
Fashola said this at the 11th Abuja International Housing show and Construction Industry Exhibition organised by Fesadeb Media group on Monday in Abuja.
The theme of the three-day show is: “Solving Nigeria’s Housing Challenge through Innovative, Finance and Infrastructure Solution.’’
According to him, majority of the estates are not occupied due to inadequate infrastructure, which discourages people who are interested in owning property.
“As we discuss housing finance, let also understand that financing is not only the problem, there are many others, there is the issue of affordability and also that of acceptability.
“ We have empty houses in many states of the federation, why are they not occupied, can people afford them; if they can afford them, do they like the way they were built?
“It is a problem, we must connect and build to the taste of the home taker, I think the financing and infrastructure problem will remain with us as long as we live.’’
He said that the ministry had in the past one year designed a national housing model in response to the climatic and cultural diversities of Nigerians.
Fashola said that the size of the problem in the housing sector should not affect the enthusiasm of Nigerians to find solutions to the present housing deficit.
“Let us focus more on what we can contribute, what we can do; rather than how big the problem is.
“It is indisputable that housing is a problem globally; so let us focus less on how big it is and focus more on what we can do’’ he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr John Oyegun, said the present administration was ready to address the problem of housing deficit in the country.
According to him, the event is geared toward identifying the challenges of housing deficit with a view to creating innovative housing strategies and infrastructure that will provide decent and affordable housing to all.
He said that APC would deliver on its mandate of providing quality and affordable housing for Nigerians.
Earlier in his remarks, Malam Ibrahim Aliyu, the Chairman Urban Shelter Ltd, said the three key words in the theme; finance, infrastructure and innovation were achievable.
Aliyu said that Nigeria was deficient in the provision of basic amenities for its citizenry as there were some cities in Nigeria that could not boast of tap water supply for 24 hours.
“The first attraction of a good city is the first class infrastructure, which is why people migrate to cities.
“We have a problem, we have not put in place a structure for basic infrastructure on a continuous sustainable bases,’’ he said.
According to him, the high rate of mortgage is the reason why mortgage financing, the foundation of sustainable housing is not very sustainable in Nigeria.