FG, Lagos to jointly tackle urbanisation challenges
- Monday, 30 April 2012
The Federal Government has not and will not abandon the nation’s former federal capital, Lagos, but will rather work with it to ensure that the current trend of rapid urbanisation being witnessed in the state is sustainable.
To achieve this, the Federal Government has said it is ready to cooperate with Lagos and other states facing similar challenges to develop policies that will address the issue of sustainable urban growth.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Bala Mohammed, made the position of the Federal Government known at a session on ‘Developing a Housing Model for a Sustainable City’ during the sixth Lagos Economic Summit tagged, ‘Ehingbeti 2012,’ which held last week.
In a summary of the session made available to our correspondent on Thursday, the minister also said the Federal Government would partner states like Lagos, Kano and Rivers to address the shortage of affordable housing accommodation for Nigerians, especially in the capital cities.
Mohammed noted that while the states were contending with housing shortage due to the upsurge in rural-urban migration, the FCT was grappling with different challenges, including difficulties in obtaining title to land, problem of registration of titles and non-compliance with the rules and regulations.
The minister said the attention of the Federal Government had not shifted away from Lagos, “but the reality of the nation’s collective responsibility and needs made Abuja a centre of attraction.”
According to him, the Federal Government is more than ready to partner Lagos in the area of infrastructure provision to address the urbanisation challenges.
An official of the World Bank, Dr. Michael Wong, who spoke on the topic, ‘Urban Renewal Through Sustainable Housing and Infrastructure,’ said Africa required four million new houses annually, with Lagos needing 60 per cent of Nigeria’s estimated 720,000-unit requirement.
“The irony is that there is 20 per cent demand for housing annually, but the demand is being hampered by lack of infrastructure, credit risk, informality, low income, high interest rate and financial illiteracy by the people who ignorantly take loans from financial institutions without understanding the clauses,” Wong said.
He listed the challenges inherent in urban development in the developing nation to include inadequate infrastructure, water supply, transportation, waste disposal, water pollution, schools, hospitals and other related amenities.
Factors inimical to housing supply, according to him, include non-availability of developer finance, weak planning and building regulation, escalating cost of infrastructure and difficult access to land, among others.
The Director, Global Monitoring and Research Division, UN-HABITAT, Nairobi, Kenya, Prof. Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, who spoke on the topic, ‘Embracing Sustainable Cities Model,’ said Lagos faced a twin problem in that it was a large port city serving as a window into all regions of the world, and secondly, a congested centre of opportunity for migrants.
According to him, the benefits of a sustainable city are ecological sustenance, social harmony and economic growth.
Oyelaran-Oyeyinka said “Depending on the level of development, focus shifts amongst all three; a successful plan is one that ensures that whichever aspect is made pivotal, all three benefits and the city advances competitively.(The Punch)
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