Chairman of the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria CORBON, Bldr. Samson Ameh Opaluwah has said Nigeria needs over 900,000 artisans within the next one year to champion housing delivery.
Bldr. Opaluwah disclosed this in an exclusive interview with Housing TV Africa, where he mentioned that the built environment is short of artisans and professionals with the requisite skills.
He also emphasized the need to address the housing needs of every Nigerian irrespective of their earnings, as this would help bridge the housing shortage gap.
“The housing challenges in Nigeria range from shortages to slum dwelling, and housing is one of the various ways to attack unemployment in any nation, especially among the youths. It provides skills in the area of construction and management.”
“All those that we call unemployed can be gainfully employed if housing is provided. Addressing these challenges involves all stakeholders, both government, individuals and cooperatives.”
“We need to begin to think outside the box to drive development in the country, especially in the area of housing. It’s a good thing that we now have a housing minister who knows the job, so it is important for us professionals to rally around him with our support in achieving the ultimate goal.”
Speaking on championing artisan development and skills training in the built environment, Opaluwah says there’s a need to organize the informal training of artisans.
“In Nigeria we focus more on those in the higher echelon and our policies does not encourage those at the lower echelon to grow. Our educational system also needs to be reviewed, as it has contributed majorly to how technical education has been portrayed overtime.
“Many young people are discouraged from acquiring formal technical education, because of the disorganized setting, and that is what led the National Board for Technical Education to send a memo through the Federal Ministry of Education to the Federal Executive Council which then approved a programme called National Skills Qualification Framework NSQF. A skills qualification framework for all the non-formal-educated talents and CORBON is the sector’s case council of building construction.”
“There’s a need for a human phase in the application of rules and regulations in the building construction ecosystem that is why every artisan in the building construction site must be regulated by CORBON.
“We have less than five percent of the required skilled artisans in Nigeria, to bridge this gap we need to go into massive training of artisans. This can be achieved within the shortest period of time with minimal effort.
“CORBON is working on both the formal and informal training of individuals because our country needs to grapple with national development.”
Opaluwah charged the ministers of works, housing, and the Federal Capital Territory, to utilize the right professionals in both the private and public sectors, stating the challenges facing the country are not insurmountable, “We have the professionals and experience to provide solutions if giving an opportunity.”
“We must revive the situation around our technical schools by ensuring that all the available facilities are utilized appropriately and more students from the early stage of education are encouraged and their skills harnessed.
“We must also encourage the use of alternative building materials and production of local building materials, Lowering the cost of construction is also another area to look at, an example would be to navigate towards cement replacement through the appropriate materials.”
“We must begin to encourage made-in-Nigeria houses by questioning the accepted norms. It is possible for everyone to own a home if their needs are addressed accordingly.
He tasked professionals in the built environment to rise to their responsibilities. “Our policy must connect with the needs of the people to fizzle out corruption.”