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The initiative, which is also expected to enhance quality in housing development in the state, will focus on improving the competence of local artisans and craftsmen in the state. The Lagos State government says plans are at an advanced level to start building capacity and local competences that will help to tackle incidences of building collapse and high cost of property development in the state.

The initiative, which is also expected to enhance quality in housing development in the state, will focus on improving the competence of local artisans and craftsmen in the state. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of the state, who gave this hint at the commissioning of the 774-unit LagosHOMS housing scheme in Sangotedo recently, noted that there is a wide skill gap in the building industry in Nigeria.

This, he regretted, compels developers to source artisans from neighbouring countries, notably, Togo, Ghana and Benin Republic, thereby creating jobs for other nationals than Nigerians. “There is so much skill gap in the built sector which has forced Nigerian developers to prefer artisans from other countries; This is a sad development, especially when the construction industry has a huge potential for economic engagement for young people,” he said.

For this reason, he assured, “the state government, through the Ministry of Housing, will soon come up with an artisan training package tagged ‘MasterCraft Programme’ where over 1,000 artisans would be trained in batches of 200 to ensure intensive impartation of knowledge and skills.”

“We will do more of this skill up-grading in the new year, particularly through our various ministries and agencies. It is a long term programme; the first leg will be for six weeks and will be centred on critical construction trades such as Electrical Installation and Maintenance Works; Painting and Decorating; Plumbing and Pipe-Fitting; Carpentry and Furniture Making and Masonry,” the governor explained.

The governor revealed that those who would participate in the scheme would be drawn from all over the state while training centres would be sited within the three senatorial districts of the state. “I enjoin us all to be part of this human capital development programme,” he pleaded.

Besides greed and regulatory lapses, dearth of professional builders, especially at artisanship level, has been blamed for the frequent building collapse incidents in the country with Lagos accounting for over 60 percent of the whole incidents. This explains why experts and sundry stakeholders in the built environment welcome initiatives such as this that would guarantee build quality and safety of lives and investments in the state.

Sanwo-Olu gave reasons for the state government’s involvement in mass housing. “Our administration’s drive to invest in mass housing schemes that yield decent homes in livable communities is for our people to be psychologically and socially stable enough to contribute their quota to the development of the state. “We also take into cognizance the joy that home ownership brings to our people. This is not peculiar to Nigerians as home ownership has always been a mark of great achievement among all people. These considerations, among others, have made housing provision a critical part of our developmental efforts in the state,” the governor noted.

He noted further that not everyone could benefit from the state’s housing schemes, explaining that it was the reason the state government was deepening its activities in the area of land allocation and speeding up the formalization procedures for land acquisition.

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