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FG, Jonathan offer strategies to unlock real estate potential

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Former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (left) and NIESV President, Sir Emmanuel Wike during the 51st annual conference held in Abuja

Despite encouraging and evolving trends in the property market, Nigeria is experiencing rapid urbanisation in cities and other issues hindering growth of the real estate sector.

In addition, the monetary and fiscal measures are able to largely dampen COVID-19 effect on households’ income and residential markets as well as devaluation of commercial property portfolios.

To overcome these challenges, the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) met with senior government officials, experts and analysts on the growth of the real estate sector at the 51st annual conference held last week in Abuja.

The conference was attended by the former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and other dignitaries.

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Speaking on the theme, “Unlocking Real Estate Potentials for Economic Development,” Jonathan urged estate surveyors to create an institution that would equip young estate surveyors with requisite knowledge to practise the trade.

He bemoaned influx of foreigners into the country’s building and construction sector, warned that if this is allowed to continue, the unemployment rate among youths will continue to increase.

In his address, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo called for partnership between government at all levels and the institution to maximise benefits of the sector for national growth.

Represented by the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, the Vice President noted that government is making huge interventions on infrastructure to boost the economy.

“NIESV provides a broad spectrum of services that include, the maintenance of public infrastructure/assets, valuation of assets for infrastructure development, acting as custodians of real property and acting as arbitrators in land dispute.

“Where and how can the Federal Government leverage the skills of your profession to develop the housing sector, achieve land reform and improve revenues.

He disclosed that the federal government is investing $1bn on three road projects, had also approved Executive Order 7, which essentially mobilises private investment through a tax credit scheme to encourage private sector to invest in road construction for tax rebates.

He said government created the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), investing over a billion dollars in three flagship projects: The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge and Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway. The government also approved Executive Order 7, which essentially mobilises private investment through a tax credit scheme to encourage the private sector to invest in road construction for tax rebates.

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Also speaking, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. Boss Mustapha, said the Federal Government will review the Land Use Act of 1978 to put an end to challenges pose to urban developments.

Mustapha, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary Political and Economic Affairs Office, noted the review would be faster to foster economic development and diversification.

He said: “The Federal Government is aware of the challenges pose by the Land Use Act of 1978 to your sector, the building and construction sector. And this is why have embarked on the review of those areas constituting obstacles to economic development.’’

The SGF called on estate surveyors and valuers to work with the government in the reviewing process.

On his part, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the development of critical infrastructure such as the provision and maintenance of new roads and bridges, airports, rail infrastructure, among others, had salutary impacts on the real estate sector.

The minister, who was represented by an official of his ministry, Aisha Mohammed, said the government understood that real estate development was hinged on land and was making conscious efforts to ensure accessibility, affordability, security of land and titles.

Fashola said, “Between July 2018 and May 2021, the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has processed and issued 4,628 Certificates-of-Occupancy and 2,230 consents to secondary land transactions.

NIESV President, Sir Emmanuel Wike, called for improvement in the security situation across the country, stressing that this was having severe negative impact on the real estate sector.

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Wike, said government should hand over the building of houses to the private developers and liberalise the sector like that of the telecommunication sector.

He urged government to establish a robust mortgage system to enable Nigerians to build or purchase their own houses; embark on research and development to encourage local production of building materials and reduction in cost of houses.

Wike said that this could be achieved with the amendment of the Land Use Act in the interest of the sector and the nation at large.

He called on estate surveyors to imbibe the virtues of honesty, trust because the services they offer are vital to the economic development and well-being of the society.

He said the profession ensures members’ adherence to the code of professional ethics and practice, while applying the stick to erring members without fear or favour.

“This is the standard upon which the profession of estate surveying and valuation is anchored,” he added.

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