FG set to establish building materials manufacturing hubs nationwide

The Federal government is set to establish building materials manufacturing hubs nationwide to actualise the Renewed Hope Agenda Action Plan for housing and urban development.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa, said this during a courtesy visit by a delegation from the International Financial Corporation (IFC), led by Dr Dahlia Khalifa – Regional Director, Central Africa and Anglophone West Africa, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Dangiwa, who was represented by the Minister of State, Alhaji Abdullahi Gwarzo, said that the establishment of the hub was in line with the ministry’s housing reform initiatives.

According to him, the reforms were aimed to deliver decent, affordable, and quality housing to Nigerians across all income segments.

“Establishing Building Materials Manufacturing Hubs across the country, implementing a Nationwide Urban Renewal and Slum Upgrading programme is one of the actionable strategies to achieve the renewed hope agenda in housing development.

“Also, the development of New Cities that are integrated and inclusive, using a demand driven strategy that will ensure prompt offtake of units built,” he said.

The minister, further listed other strategies put in place to achieve the renewed hope agenda to include strengthening the institutional capacity of agencies under its supervision including the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA).

Dangiwa added that plans to increase the supply of decent and affordable housing, establishing a National Social Housing Fund (NSHF), and implementing land reforms to enhance easy and cost-effective access to land were also in place.

He commended the work of the IFC in providing funding for developmental projects across Africa.

The minister also called for a deeper partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to implement reforms to actualise the Renewed Hope Action Plan for housing and urban development across the country.

He noted that Nigeria was yet to maximise its partnership with the body, especially in the area of housing and urban development.

“Upon reviewing your 2023 Annual Report, I noticed that the IFC has committed over $128.3 billion in loans, grants, investments, and guarantees to partner countries and private businesses.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa, the report indicates that the IFC committed over $38.6 billion. What remains unclear to me is the specific amount of this investment that flowed into Nigeria, both for the country and private businesses” Dangiwa said.

He said that the focus and priorities of the new government required an enhanced and expanded partnership with the IFC.

“We are determined to realise the bold vision of His Excellency, President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda for housing and urban development.

“As the drivers of His Excellency’s vision at the Ministry, we are intent on implementing a Comprehensive Framework for the Reform of the Housing and Urban Sector in the country”, he said.

“We would like the IFC and our team to work out a Structured Actionable framework that would see the Ministry and IFC sign a Comprehensive Partnership Agreement on Housing and Urban Development.

“Covering all areas of IFC’s interventions related to housing and urban development. We would expect this agreement to state what the IFC can do to assist us in achieving our housing and urban development plans, as well as the Ministry’s responsibilities,” he said.

The minister reiterated the ministry’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.

“Particularly, the Ministry, like the IFC, views the private sector as a key partner in our efforts to increase access to affordable housing for Nigerians.

“A key part of our strategy is to create an enabling environment for increased private-sector investment in housing and urban development.

“Therefore, we seek a partnership with the IFC that enables more of our private developers to access funding through IFC mechanisms.

“While we work towards an agreement, in the interim, we propose that our teams collaborate to develop modalities for a Ministry-sponsored workshop.

“This workshop will facilitate a meeting between the IFC and our private developers to explain the procedures for accessing finance to drive their projects.

“In this new era, we want more Nigerian developers to access funding using the mechanism of the IFC,” he said.

Dangiwa further assured the corporation of the ministry’s commitment to transparency and accountability in their collaborations.

“Our sole goal is to deliver on Mr. President’s objective of providing decent and quality accommodation to all Nigerians, especially the 80 percent falling within the medium and low segments.

“We aim to build livable communities and leverage the housing sector to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty”, he said.

Senior Country Manager of the IFC, Mr Kalim Shah noted that housing was a major focus of the IFC across Africa where they service both the supply and demand sides of the industry.

He said that the purpose of the visit was to understand what the ministry was doing and see how the group could partner and support their efforts to enhance the delivery of affordable housing to Nigerians.

“We see some honest desire on the part of the new government to provide affordable housing to the people, and we’ve come as partners to see how we can support what you’re doing.

“As an arm of the World Bank, our focus is primarily on private sector investment, so we’ are looking for areas where we can work with the ministry in line with your vision for decent and affordable housing solutions to Nigerians, “he said.

Also speaking, Senior Investment Officer, Public-Private Partnership of IFC, Alexander Leigh, said the corporation would want to engage the ministry in a bid to identify the specific areas of need and know how to provide solutions.

He added that the IFC considers factors like access to land and its administration, construction costs, the situation of beneficiaries to occupy the houses, and affordability in its dealings with countries.

He expressed excitement at the ministry’s efforts to address such issues.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria