L-R: Convener, Abuja Int’l Housing Show (AIHS), Festus Adebayo, Minister of State for Works and Housing Engr Abubakar Aliyu during the opening ceremony of the 15th edition of the show in Abuja on MondayBy ABAH ADAH, Abuja
The 15th edition of the Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) has finally taken off in grand style with the participants from Nigeria and other parts of the world displaying high spirit. An annual event, the theme of this year’s 4-day AIHS, which runs from Monday, July 26 through Thursday 29, 2021, is: Sustainable and Resilient Housing Solutions for a Post Pandemic World.
Declaring the biggest housing show in Africa open at the International Conference Centre in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Mohammad Bello, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Adesola Olusade, commended the organisers of AIHS and their development partners for nurturing the annual show for the past 15 years from a small exhibition show to becoming the biggest housing and construction event on the continent .In his address, the Chairman of the occasion and former Minister of Environment, former Minister of State for Works and Housing, Surv. Suleiman Hassan Zarma, said the theme could not have come at a better time than now when the world is saddled with the scourge of the COVID-19 Pandemic and it’s damming consequences, especially on those without access to affordable housing and shelter.
“AIHS 2021 is part of the efforts of the International Housing and Construction Show grand event targeted at creating awareness for affordable housing as a critical human need.“This yearly event gives us the opportunity to take stock of the state of our housing and construction industry, especially those often left behind when it comes to housing as a fundermental human right and determine the way forward.“For us in AIHS, we shall continue to pursue our mandate of advocating and promoting housing and socio-economic data for championing the course of affordable housing as well as advise government on related issues as our contribution towards ameliorating the adverse effect of the pandemic against those that lack access to affordable housing,” Zarma said.In his welcome address, the Chief Convener of AIHS and President of the Housing Development and Advocacy Network (HDAN), Barr. Festus Adebayo, who pre-corroborated the Chairman’s position on housing, disclosed that partnership between AIHS and the National Bureau of Statics (NBS), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among other critical stakeholders was underway towards addressing the issue of inadequate data which, according to him, is the greatest challenge to housing development in Nigeria at the moment.Also, part of the issues to be addressed at this year’s conference will be the matter of housing data for effective planning and delivery.
To this end, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Population Commission (NPC),Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He said the stakeholders would “deliberate on Nigeria’s housing deficit figures and the way forward in terms of the segmentation of our housing needs and what is expected and required from both urban and rural perspectives using both local and international best practices”. Speaking further, he said, “For us in the housing and built sector and, particularly the Housing Development and Advocacy Network (HDAN), we remain unrelenting in advocating for the development and rollout of affordable housing by government and the private sector.
Adebayo commended the response of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Finance and other stakeholders towards the establishment of N200Billion National Social Housing Programme being managed by the Family Homes funds to deliver 300,000 housing units for low income earners across the federation. Highlight of the opening ceremony was the presentation of performance award to deserving individuals including governors and ministers.