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‘How Ogun Can Tap Into Housing Deficit In Lagos To Boost Economy’



Olusola Enitan

Mr. Olusola Enitan, Fellow of the Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (N.I.E.S.V.), is a real estate expert and alumnus of Lagos Business School, Lagos. Enitan, who is the Managing Partner of Sola Enitan and Co., speaks on the housing deficit in Lagos State and how neighnouring Ogun State can tap into it to boost its economy. 

Ogun State is blessed with vast array of land with limited opportunities for accommodation seekers from Lagos State. What do you think the state can do boost its economy while satisfying the yearnings of accommodation seekers? OGUN State indeed has a lot of land.

But because there is no seeming strategy as to what and what land is going to be deployed to, we have large family lands.

I think the first thing is to articulate that strategy, not just within tenure of governance, but in such away that it covers a period of about 25 years.

You then break it down into manageable portions, yearly, triennially etc. If you have such a plan, you will assign capital to it. And the first capital you will want to assign to a plan like that will be land.

When you are assigning land, you have already done your global plan. The development plan will then focus more on what is going to happen in each area.

I think the Ibikunle Amosun-led government is doing well in respect to strategy and forward thinking in terms of need for land. However, I will like to see something that does not just focus on the arterial roads alone (major roads).

We can go further by looking at the global needs of the state, by doing local analysis of the global needs, by trying to get those locations ahead of time and by trying to find out the benefits such projects will bring to government.

One of such of things will be housing. Housing is notably one of the fastest developmental factors in governance. If you take the housing of the people, you will grow employment, tax base of the state, and the welfare of the people.

The market economy will improve. And the industrial base of the state will be positively imparted. Housing has multi-impact dimension. And it touches every area.

I want to see the government more in the area of housing development. When I say housing, I am not talking about housing of N25 million, because that is the same reason people are running away from Lagos into Ogun State in search of cheaper accommodation.

Instead of leaving housing development for people who are doing sporadic development, you can do proper housing plan. You can come to terms with social housing, which is not available in Lagos.

What that will do is to pull the mass of people into Ogun State; people who work in Lagos State will then live in Ogun State. And if they are living in Ogun State, the tax base will shift to Ogun State.

They will be prospering the government of Ogun State and people of the state. If 10,000 people move into certain area, you will see the economic impact it will have and the spiral effect of that movement.

Our people are very intelligent rural people, who are retailers and farmers. They need patronage for their goods. And housing is the easiest way for us to get that patronage for them.

I want to see that happening. We have all kinds of clusters from Lagos to Ifo and Ewekoro. People will live there and pay good rents, which is comparable to Lagos but will be cheaper, because these are planned, purpose-built houses.

Government will get its money back. How will government get its money back? Government will create a Real Estate Investment Trust Scheme for the state.

What that means is that every house the government provides, will not be sold, but rented out. And we will bundle everything and take real estate into the stock exchange and unbundle it for the ownership to be shared across the state and federation so that somebody can buy 10,000 units or 5,000 units, for instance.

And when we pull them together, they will bring back not just the created asset in terms of returns, but profit to the government to build more houses.

Government can invest in industrial clusters, welfare projects such hospitals and cooperative centres that will help the people to develop further.

We will have cottage industries in Ogun State. When you create hub and put housing around that hub, it will be convenient for people to do their businesses to earn a living and grow their market.

Those who invested will get part of the rents; every year the rents will be shared as dividends to those who have invested. Government is looking at developing railway infrastructures that will feed Lagos and Ogun states.

The propensity of real estate growth is very high. I will want to see the government building a strategic plan around the rail network whereby the government is able to harness the taxability of the businesses around the hub. Government can even determine the businesses that can grow around a hub, such that they will be businesses that will uplift the people.

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