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Nigerians lament inconsistency in housing policy


Victoria Island in Lagos

Eggheads and investors are expressing deep emotion over the policy inconsistency in the housing industry, which they blamed for the deficit in the sector.

To achieve sustainable housing delivery in Nigeria, numerous housing strategies, programmes and policies have emerged from colonial era to date.

Although the housing policy also takes into consideration, other vital issues like health, finance, cooperative, provision of infrastructure, building materials (with emphasis on local building materials), periodic maintenance and repair, it could not achieve the expected results.

But the government and experts in the industry said Nigeria could not overcome its 17 million units deficit due to government and inconsistency in housing policies.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, admitted recently that policy inconsistencies by successive administrations, hinder home ownership in Nigeria, and therefore compounds the increasing housing deficit in Nigeria.

According to him, the challenge of housing deficit would continue except those saddled with the responsibility of boosting the nation’s housing units ensured that they protect the housing industry from policy summersaults.

Mustapha tasked FHA members to re-strategise and come up with all-inclusive social roadmap that will impact more meaningfully on Nigerians.

“The provision of affordable and low-cost houses to citizens is a primary responsibility of the government because it is a social investment that should ease housing challenges.

“But over the years this objective had not been realised because of policy somersaults by the successive administrations.

“Since government is a continuum all developmental policies of the agency should be sustained and not discarded,’’ Mustapha said.

A member of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Mr Jide Oke, stated that policy inconsistency has remained a hindrance to the success of Public/Private Partnership (PPP) schemes.

Oke said PPP schemes would be more effective with economic stability and regularity in government directives.

He claimed that successive administrations scarcely completed set projects before their tenures elapsed.

“As such, the projects are usually abandoned for new ones by the successors,’’ he said.
According to him, governments should complete projects and execute policies started by their predecessors before embarking on new ones so that PPP would record significant progress.

He said that governments should to build confidence among investors, respect contractual agreements with private firms and provide special incentives to encourage private investments.

He called for the right policies, legislation and regulatory framework that would guarantee stable macroeconomic environment for success of PPP schemes.

Oke urged the Federal Government to focus on expanding the country’s investment, industrial and manufacturing base.

Also the Managing Director of Symphony Garden City, Lagos, Mr. Bola Adeboye lamented government influence in housing. He decried the rate at which both foreign and local investors in the housing industry are moving their investments from the country to other African countries.

Adeboye warned that unless the situation is reversed, investors would keep on avoiding the sector.

Recently, the Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, said government cannot be just an umpire in the housing sector because it plays a critical role on both supply and demand side.

He noted that all over the world government’s investment in housing has dwindled, because the conventional source of funds supply is simply inadequate due to emerging infrastructural demands in the urban development.

An Executive Director in the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), Dr. Chii Akporji, called for transparency, clarity of purpose and consistency in addressing housing challenge in Nigeria.

According to her, government has not really stamped its feet on the issue because housing has been made a mere political stunt and has not really tied it to improving the welfare of citizens.

She said that the government has not been consistent in creating enabling environment to attract investment in housing because of policy summersault. Akporji said there is need for consistent efforts to make housing investment to thrive.

Similarly, Dr. Kennedy Okonkwo, a developer and Chief Executive Officer, Nedcom Oaks, called for a radical perspective on the part of all relevant stakeholders.

He advocated for better regulations and professional inputs in developing designs to reduce cost.

According to the Special Adviser to Ogun state governor on housing, Mr. Jide Odusolu, housing is so critical for economic development because its role in checking the economic indicator or determining economic growth is pivotal.

Odusolu, who is also the Managing Director, Ogun state Investment Corporation, called for a partnership model that will guarantee a win-win scenario for all stakeholders based on willingness to sacrifice.

An investor and founder of Ventures Platform, Kola Aina, said real estate operators should embrace change and thinking out of the box on how to devolve their products for people uses.

He called for more emphasis on rental, where people are to pay monthly saying the current yearly demand is not attuned to current realities and therefore not sustainable.

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