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Experts urge review of national housing policy



The Managing Director, CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Company Limited, Mr. Kelechukwu Mbagwu (centre), flanked by the Director, Academic Planning Unit, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe (left), Dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Prof. K.T. Odusami (right), President, Nigeria-UK Housing Society, Michelle Adeyinka and the Director, Centre for Housing Studies, University of Lagos, Prof. Timothy Nubi (left) during the workshop for Housing Researchers and Lecturers, recently

WITH 17million deficit in the sector still unmet, experts are calling for a new policy that would speed-up housing delivery through regeneration, and tailored towards effective demand of the nation’s various income classes and economic groups.

They also recommended that the retirement savings of workers should be used to fuel a surge in house building in the country, while current activities of housing delivery agencies need to be integrated into a holistic delivery framework.

The submission was made by the Managing Director, CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Company Limited, Mr. Kelechukwu Mbagwu and the Director, Centre for Housing Studies, University of Lagos, Prof. Timothy Nubi during the opening of a two-day workshop for researchers and lecturers, organised by the centre on the theme “Contemporary Issues in Teaching, Learning and Practising Housing.

Mr. Mbagwu, who chaired the ceremony, said the national housing policy should be overhauled to make it more proactive. “We need a very proactive national housing policy from the new government.

The existing policy should be changed.    “It is not enough to give incentives, the economy is in doldrums and our main stay, oil would not sustain us for a long period.

It’s time for government to look for new ways to reinvent the will and housing has been tried and proven as a sustainable means, if government can boost housing construction and infrastructure, they will not only be encouraging the recovery of the economy, but providing a very basic need.”

He also announced a donation of N5 million and scholarships to enable the centre equip policy makers, lawmakers, formal housing providers and potential housing providers with the appropriate education specifically targeting profitable, affordable housing provision.

The Centre pioneers new ways of housing provision and management, reviews current and emerging practice in the housing industry and support those who have the responsibility for proffering policies to manage the housing situation in Nigeria.

Mbagwu urged private developers to tap into offshore funding for a single interest rate as Nigerian banks can’t provide the need support in housing development.

“You developers should know by now that it got to be offshore funds, as our banks don’t have the products. From personal experience, borrow too much from Nigerian banks; you will surely get into trouble.

We need single digit interest rate and we need programmes that will give you leeway to recoup your money.  We also have to develop capacity,” he said.

He said that the NMRC idea was a laudable, but its implementation has been faulty, as the mortgage banks that are supposed to provide support to private developers to deliver completed houses under the scheme have not provided the funds.

Speaking on Meeting Nigeria’s 17million housing deficit: An Agenda for change, Prof. Nubi stressed that the problem of housing has become an every day discussion in all quarters of the public and private services of the developing countries including Nigeria. “It has become increasingly glaring that most of the urban population live in dehumanising housing environment while those that have access to average housing do so at abnormal cost.”

The Head of Department of Estate Management Department, advocated for a model for effective housing delivery in the next dispensation of governance using housing sector as a tool of economic recovery and development.

He urged the government to make regeneration programmes, home completion loan services as part of government’s policy for releasing uncompleted housing stock to the market, while the private sector would be enabled to provide accessible housing solutions to the general populace.”

UNILAG Director, Academic Planning Unit, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe said that comprehensive national research policies should be developed as a matter of urgency to guide research.

He further recommended that research endowment funds and innovative or competitive funds should be established to promote institutional and individual research on competitive basis, based on agreed criteria and a transparent system of selection, monitoring and evaluation.

Such funds should be available for faculty in both public and private institutions to promote multi-disciplinary synergies.

He also suggested that universities should provide facilities that promote the transfer of technology from institutions to industry.

“ All universities should set up or strengthen existing quality assurance units, headed by highly experienced senior academics who can motivate and also criticise without fear or favour, to give academic leadership and promote research throughout the institution.”

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