By Kazeem Ugbodaga
A delegate from the Abia State Government visited Lagos State on Tuesday to understudy the housing policy of the state government in a bid to replicate same in the eastern state.
The team, led by the Abia State Commissioner for Housing, James Okpara was hosted by the Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
The Abia team toured the Igando Housing Scheme of the Lagos State Government, under the Rent-to-Own scheme and was impressed by the development.
Speaking at the event, Okpara said his team had come with open mind to see and learn with a view to replicating same in Abia, saying that what the team had seen would go a long way in assisting the state in what it wanted to do.
“Even, if it is the only thing I achieve during my tenure in my state, I must put in place a housing policy for Abia. The situation in Abia and Lagos are not the same, but there are some parameters that will be the same. From what we have seen, Lagos has a good housing policy and we will toll the line of Lagos and will adjust where we need to adjust,’’ Okpara stated.
According to the Commissioner, Abia State had 1.5 million housing deficit, which prompted the government to start working out strategies to address the deficit.
Speaking, Lawal said the state government was ready with a new housing policy for Lagos, stressing that the government had created lots of enabling laws to ensure that the housing policy worked.
“Today, we have 17 sites we are funding and the total number of housing units in them is 6,000,” he said, adding that the state currently had a housing deficit of three million.
He said to bridge the housing deficit, the government would need to construct 187,500 housing units annually for a period of five years, saying that government did not have the needed resources to make this happened, which informed the need to partner with the private sector to drive the housing policy.
“The funding capacity of states in terms of housing delivery is dwindling and we want to partner with the private sector to bridge the gap. In order to find solutions to those challenges, the state government gives opportunities to private developers and contractors to develop the housing sector,’’ he said.
The commissioner said Lagos had programmes and policies that could be adopted by other states, saying he believed that the Abia delegate would be able to tap experience from some of the policies and programmes successfully carried out in the state.
“There is a need for us too to monitor and look at what we have done and address lapses. We will be visiting some of the sites and it is also an opportunity for people to know the plans of Lagos State,’’ Lawal added.