Federal budget 2016 to push housing supply, construction activities
• Experts seek private sector led construction of houses
• Adoption of modular building system
Under plans unveiled in the budget, the ministry plans to embark on the construction of 1,973 blocks of 7,068 housing units in the six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at a cost of N44.5 billion plus other prototype housing and social housing schemes
Better days may be in the offing for prospective homeowners, built environment professionals and property developers, if the developments last week in the housing industry are anything to go by.
Under the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing total budget of N433 billion, N268 billion representing 62 per cent was allotted to works, N99 billion, an equivalent of 23 per cent to power and N66 billion, representing 15 per cent to housing.
Real estate experts say that the recent move by the federal government to allocate considerable chunk of the budget to the housing sector is likely to spur supply of affordable homes and demand to arrest the nation’s housing deficit estimated at 17 million homes.
In the budget, the ministry plans to embark on the construction of 1,973 blocks of 7,068 housing units in the six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at a cost of N44.5 billion. The government has also earmarked N2, 515,013,517 for the payment of local contractors debt and failed land transactions.
Similarly, the authorities will also complete the provision of infrastructure such as roads and drains for social housing at Oron, Akwa Ibom State, Keffi in Nassarawa State, Nkwubor in Enugu State at a cost of N540 million. There is also provision for the completion of prototype housing scheme in Suleja in Niger State with appropriation of N800 million.
About N1.630 billion has been earmarked by the ministry for the construction and furnishing of ministerial quarters, comprising four-bedroom semi-detached duplex with boys quarter and other ancillary building and services.
Specifically, the experts agreed that the sector needs rejuvenation, but that the government should look at the cities where demand for houses is high rather than geo-political zones. According to the Africa President, International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) and principal partner, Ubosi Eleh and Company, Mr. Chudi Ubosi, “the proper spread of the houses will impact positively, not a political spread. Building the homes where the housing shortages are more acute should be the goal.”
Collaborating his view, the second Vice President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Kunle Awobodu noted that embarking on such magnitude of construction would reduce housing deficit and kicked against using political reasons in location of the houses, predicting, “ zones that are in dire need of accommodation might have limited supply.”
He advised that such houses be affordable and reputable construction companies should undertake its construction. “Most mass housing projects have been recording series of complaints from occupants. Modalities by the Babatunde Fashola led ministry must incorporate thorough quality control.”
Ubosi also suggested that the government should adopt modular building system as achieving the number of houses earmarked in the budget with brick and mortar method will be a herculean task.
For Akin Olawore, a senior member of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), the government should not engage in building houses, it should be left for the private sector. “Government only needs to support with the enabling environment such as easy access to land and title as well as provide infrastructure to reduce the cost of building.
“The ministry should be involved in the challenges of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company (NMRC) because of the ultimate objective of the ministry is to give Nigerians access to housing.”