The President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Mr. Kunle Mokuolu, has called on the Federal Government to provide a proper framework to ensure better housing delivery for Nigerians.
Mokuolu, while assessing infrastructure growth under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the last three years, scored the government high in road infrastructure and power, but expressed reservations about the housing sector.
He said the Federal Government would succeed better in its mass housing drive if more private sector participants were allowed.
According to him, housing delivery in advanced countries is better organised because it is run by the private sector.
“Housing should be off the hands of government; housing should be totally privatised and the government should provide the policy and laws that would back housing delivery,” Mokuolu told the News Agency of Nigeria.
He said the government should concern itself with social housing for those who could not pay rent, because they were either out of job or had other financial problems.
Mokuolu also advised that social housing should be restricted to the local government level and that when such economically disadvantaged citizens found their financial footing, they could start to pay rent or buy homes.
“The Federal Government is to provide the framework to ease the delivery of housing. I am not really satisfied with the housing delivery; some things must be in place to achieve this. We must begin to produce our steel ourselves and that is why the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill is too important. Whatever it takes to produce steel in this country, the government should just do it,” he added.
He said the steel component was important in building high rise structures as the nation’s population was growing geometrically to accommodate more people in less spaces or land.
Mokuolu stated that Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill could substantially reduce the housing deficit, as steel accounted for about 25 per cent of the cost of construction of houses.
He also expressed satisfaction with the delivery of road infrastructure but appealed to the government to give local engineers more opportunities to enhance their capacities to take over and revolutionise the nation’s economy.
He added, “I am satisfied with the level of road infrastructure delivery, but I want the government to pay more attention to Nigerian content in the delivery of this infrastructure. If we are spending our Sovereign Wealth Fund, then we should be spending it for the sole benefit of Nigerians and for building of intellectual capacity.
“The most important thing is the intellectual capacity of those projects and not the physical ones that somebody can carry one bag of cement. Although we need people to carry the cement, we also need people to design the different infrastructure that will be for our domestic use.”