Stakeholders describe the new housing minister as placing a square peg in a square hole By Esther Alexander

To address the issue of housing deficit data, stakeholders have urged the new housing minister to commence with immediate effect as this will enable proper planning to address the housing challenges in the country, Esther Alexander writes.

It is no longer news that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has released the list of portfolios for his ministerial appointees. 

Among the appointees is Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa the new minister for housing and urban development, whose appointment has been described by the president of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners NITP, Tpl. Nathaniel Atebije is placing a square peg in a square hole.

According to Nathaniel, the new housing minister must consider the implementation of the Nigeria Urban and Regional Planning Law and ensure that some parts of the law that are inconsistent with modern realities are amended.

“It is also important that we harness the resources of this nation through national fiscal development planning and regional development plans. The minister must also ensure that there’s peace within the various professional bodies in the housing sector and also encourage them”.

There’s also the issue of housing data which must be addressed with immediate effect because we cannot plan without accurate data, he added.

On his part, Tpl. Toyin Ayinde, immediate past president of NITP says for housing to be properly dimensioned in Nigeria, there’s a need to work on data. He, therefore, urged the new minister for housing to develop a robust program that goes beyond the provision of housing to the management of available lands.  

“There’s been a clash of data, especially the housing deficit data, we’ve had a time where they said it was 17 million, another time it was more. I believe we need data to justify all the assumptions and that will help the new minister to make the right decision.”

“The minister must encourage the government to invest in housing, not by direct construction but by policies that will enable cooperatives, cooperation, and companies to build houses in mass and not individuals building their own houses”.

It is worthy of note that the Housing sector presents an enormous opportunity for positively impacting the economy to promote not only growth but inclusion.

The construction of houses will complement the economic growth drive by direct and indirect jobs in the housing value chain from construction companies to artisans, laborers, vendors, and many more.

So, beyond policy, consistency of implementation is important, Nigerians as we speak have high expectations, especially in the area of housing. This goes with the saying that to whom much is given, much is expected.