Better urban future within our reach – Fashola

Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing
Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has assured Nigerians of the Federal Government’s commitment to delivering a better urban future despite the prevailing challenges within the housing sector.

He made the statement at the virtual commemoration of the 2020 World Habitat Day (WHD) celebration held in Abuja. It had the theme: “Housing for all: A better Urban Future”.

Fashola’s remarks were conveyed in a statement signed by Mrs Boade Akinola, Director of Press in the ministry on Tuesday in Abuja.

It quoted Fashola as acknowledging the adverse effect of the Coronavirus pandemic, while also reeling out activities to improve access to affordable housing, mobility, sanitation, jobs and socio-economic opportunities, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

It said that the approach for implementing the steps was multifaceted, from house refurbishment loans to mortgages, with reduced service conditions and direct housing construction.

It further quoted Fashola as adding that improved speed of titling and issuance of documents would unlock unused properties and accelerate advocacy for reduced rent demands.

It said he also emphasised that a people-centred approach was key to addressing housing issues which would be the basis for socio-economic vibrancy of cities.

It also quoted Fashola as saying that government was committed to delivering “Housing that is obtainable, healthy, inclusive and adequate, safe and affordable as this was the key to sustainable and transformation of societies and communities”.

It quoted the minister as assuring Nigerians of the commitment to realising the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan while strengthening the partnership with the private sector and other government agencies at all levels, to effectively deliver on the mandate.

Speaking earlier, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Ernest Umakhihe, said that the WHD was established in 1985 by the UN General Assembly through Resolution 40/202 of 17 December 1985 and was first celebrated in 1986.

He said that the first Monday of every October was recognised as a day set aside to focus on the state of human settlements and the basic rights for all for adequate shelter.

He further said that the WHD was to remind all that everyone is responsible for the habitat of the present and future generations.

Umakhihe said the celebration would wrap up with the observance of the World Cities Day on October 31, with the Focal Theme: Better Cities, Better Life and a Sub-Theme: Valuing Our Communities and Cities.

The central celebration is currently ongoing in Surabaya, Indonesia, he added.

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