Saturday, 25 July 2020

Housing Deficit: Experts Recommend Russian System To Osinbajo-led Committee

As Nigerians grapple with acute housing deficit, development experts have commended the federal government for its decision to embark on mass housing, following the recommendations of the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo-led Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC).

The ESC had in the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan 2020 prepared by it and submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari last month recommended among other things, a mass housing programme which the committee said, “Is expected to deliver up to 300,000 homes annually, engaging young professionals and artisans.”


Managing director of U.D Bond Shelter Services Limited Mrs. Priscilla Ugochukwu while commending the federal government for its mass housing programme plans spoke of the need to adopt the Bitek Wall Blocks Russian system of affordable housing which she said holds the solution to Nigeria’s deficit of 22 million housing units.

Mrs. Ugochukwu stated, “One of the root problems of Nigeria’s seemingly endless housing difficulties is that Nigeria has, since independence, been reliant only on one of many other major inputs in building construction, and that is cement and sandcrete blocks (Block and Mortar). The monopolistic use of cement for housing delivery has made the cost of housing units very high in Nigeria, contributing to the growing housing deficit and low home-ownership ratio among Nigerians.

“With the Bitek Wall Blocks Russian System of Affordable Housing, cost of housing units are expected to fall drastically as the main component of the newly introduced system is special clay materials found in abundance in Nigeria.”

Corroborating her position, a property developer and housing expert, Mr. Nnamdi Onu, said “The special clay materials used for the Bitek Blocks Russian system of affordable housing are obtained through surface mining and with mining contributing less than 1% to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), analysts believe the new mass housing technology could help exceed the Buhari administration’s goal of making mining contribute 5% to GDP before 2025 and meet the Sustainable Development Goals’ “Housing for all by 2030.”

The housing development experts called on the Osinbajo-led ESC and the federal government to get in touch with Mr. Ben Gbade Ojo, a Nigerian who is a celebrated expert in the Bitek Wall Blocks Russian system of mass housing, adding that the Russian system will boost mining, housing development, industrialization, employment opportunities for Nigerians and economic development.

Mr. Ojo, a housing development and mortgage expert, member Nigeria-Russia Business Council and Abuja Chamber of Commerce & Industry, who introduced the Russian housing technology to Nigerian housing industry stakeholders last February had called on the federal government to tackle Nigeria’s growing housing deficit by launching a “Housing for all by 2030” programme, using the Bitek Wall Block Russian system of affordable housing. He said “such a housing programme will be a success in Nigeria and can develop about 22 million high quality affordable housing units in Abuja and the 36 states of Nigeria, within 10 years, effectively eliminating the nation’s housing deficit at a low cost”.

Mr. Ojo noted that it was pleasing that “Nigerians and Russians have partnered together to bring this world-class affordable housing technology to Nigeria to make high quality affordable housing delivery a dream come through in Nigeria”.

Dr. Valentine Boyko, a Russian housing expert had last February told newsmen in Abuja that houses built with Bitek Wall Blocks last for about 300 years and that it takes about 30 days to build a 3 bedroom bungalow of 100 square metres at a cost of about N3.6 million.

He said the houses were fire resistant, water resistant, eco-friendly and 40% cheaper to build than conventional cement houses adding that the same materials are used for the roofing and ceiling of the houses and are recyclable even after 300 years of existence of the building and can be used to rebuild or redesign the house.

Recently, Forward Nigeria Movement, a pro-democracy and good governance group, had also called on the Prof. Osinbajo-led ESC and the federal government to adopt the Russian high quality affordable housing system to boost homeownership in Nigeria and ensure the success of the federal government’s new mass housing programme.

The pro-democracy and good governance group had urged the federal government to reach out to Mr. Ojo and partner with him to successfully meet government’s mass housing objectives, using the Russian affordable housing system.

Nigeria has continued to struggle to find solutions to her housing deficit problems. Committees upon committees have been set up in the last several years, to come up with solutions that will reduce the nation’s growing housing deficit but the problem has somewhat defied solutions as the deficit, in recent statistical figures has ballooned from 17 million housing units estimated by the United Nation’s Habitat close to 10 years ago, to about 22 million housing units now, as a result of several studies, including a recent study by the World Bank.

The managing director of Shelter-Afrique, Mr. Andrew Chimphondah, had in his presentation at a one-day sensitization forum and 10th session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10) held in Abuja said that Nigeria has a 22 million housing deficit.


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