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Low addition of local content bane of housing, say experts

By Bertram Nwannekanma
22 June 2020   |   4:05 am
Failure in the implementation of the local building materials’ policy has been blamed as a major snag in the nation’s housing delivery efforts.

Failure in the implementation of the local building materials’ policy has been blamed as a major snag in the nation’s housing delivery efforts.

Experts told The Guardian that housing stocks would continue to be in short supply until property developers inculcate indigenous building materials in designs and constructions.

A recent study indicated that Nigeria has one of the highest construction costs in the world with over 80 per cent of imported inputs used in the construction of modern housing units. Naturally, it is the high cost of inputs that raises the overall price of housing units that it becomes unaffordable to the low income earners

Apart from sand, concrete and wood, all other inputs, like doors, locks and key, electrical cables, sanitary wares, plumbing materials and even marine box used for form works on sites are not found locally and are responsible for high cost of housing units.

Also, previous efforts by the government to force prices of building materials down have failed, hence the need for research to discover cheaper inputs.

Under, the 2017 National Housing Policy, the government was to pursue vigorously the adoption of functional design standards that will facilitate cost reduction, affordability, acceptability and sustainability, which will respond to the cultural and regional peculiarities of potential users; expand and improve the manufacturing base for building materials production from all available local materials and evolve a more efficient distribution system.

According to the policy, the development of appropriate capacities to achieve sufficiency in the production of basic building materials and components of acceptable quality from local resources will stimulate effective economic growth and development; and structured manpower development programme for domestic requirement and international engagement.

Experts say, the non-adherence to the content of the policy is impacting negatively housing delivery procedures.

President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Kunle Awobodu expressed concerns that some of the government policies are not backed with viable practice. He stressed that it is one thing to make policy that will advance the use of local building materials and another thing to get them available.

The Managing Director, Kaytise Ventures Limited, a local building materials manufacturer, Mr. Alatise Olakanmi, said government has shown lack of political will to implement housing policies.

He stressed that Nigeria’s housing problem could be mitigated, if all relevant stakeholders show strong will to use the local building materials.

For the former president, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Mr. Emeka Eleh, local raw materials will reduce the cost of housing inputs because it would not be subject to foreign exchange fluctuations and affect the housing supply.

He said that the manufacturers of the local building materials should be encouraged by the government with incentives. According to him, the prices of buildings are high because developers add into their costs imported materials, which eventual are passed to the subscribers.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer; Realty Point Limited and Chairman; Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), South-West, Debo Adejana, said although, there were attempts at implementing the policy but there was no strong commitment or will power to really implement that local content component.

He recalled that there were research institutions and organisations set up to develop local materials like the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), but support has not really been there.

“We are paying lip service to the policy, we have not really see the actual action to galvanise proportional usage of local materials,

“ We’re not in short of local materials that can be harnessed for this purpose. We have seen companies coming to Nigeria establishing and using these materials. If we have direct policies just like we do and being implemented , we will have more impact,” he added.

We are still having one of the highest construction costs in the world because majority of our inputs are foreign and have to be imported.

A number of our inputs no matter the quality of inputs you want to achieve a lot of our inputs are foreign which should not be. The impact is still huge , it is reflective in the kind of pricing that we have or the construction cost we have in the country. It is making housing delivery difficult, more expensive and herculean, time consuming too. If I have to import, except I have good access to cash that I can project and plan for my materials well ahead of time, that is when I may be able not experience delay in waiting for materials, importation= delays, clearing, the ports are packed, time consuming and reflect on cost.