Government to mitigate housing deficit through private sector operatives

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The Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to promote credible private sector organisations and developers to mitigate housing deficit in the country.

Mr Edet Akpan, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the 4th Abuja Investment Expo.

The expo, with the theme, “Achieving Sustainable Economic Growth through Affordable Housing Delivery’’, was organised by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and Shelter Aid Organisation, an NGO.

Akpan said that the Federal Government had made effort in finding sustainable solution to housing deficit through various policies and programmes but could not meet up the housing needs of citizens.

“There is need for collaboration with the private sector through Public Private Partnership (PPP).

“It is also important that unilateral action on the part of private developers and other well to do Nigerians are put in to mitigate this challenge.

“But then, we must not turn blind eyes to related issues that have to do with the socio-economic conditions of people.

“The UN currently puts the population of Nigeria at about 200 million people and the housing deficit which currently stands at 20 million units is not good enough,” he said.

Akpan said it was against this background that the ACCI organised the expo to come up with direction and policies that could lead to the provision of needed affordable housing.

The permanent secretary expressed the hope that the event would bring tangible result to reduce the housing deficit and create jobs for the youth.

He said that Nigeria was entering a new era of African Continental Free Trade Area where competition and high quality products, goods and services, including quality homes, would drive the process.

In an address, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, ACCI President,  said that like other developing countries, Nigeria had housing deficit which people attached different figures though the deficit was huge.

Kayode said that the expo was aimed at drawing attention of investors to housing, sourcing of cheaper local building materials and provision of affordable housing.

Earlier, Dr Johnson Anene, Vice-President in charge of Commerce and Chairman, Expo Organising Committee, said that the yearly event was organised to attract more investment and boost socio-economic activities in the FCT and other parts of the country.

“ACCI has also started training programmes for artisans as well as encouraging several groups and associations to form cooperatives.

“This is so that they can participate and benefit from various government economic development programmes,” Anene said.

The expo,  holding from July 30 to Aug. 1 will feature products exhibition, meetings, investment fora and training programmes

Suzan O