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Poor road infrastructure, access to land hinder real estate investments, says Okonkwo

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From right to left- Special Adviser on Housing to the Lagos State Governor, Toke Benson Awoyinka; Founder and CEO, Nedcomoaks Ltd, Kennedy Okonkwo; and CEO, Victoria Crest Homes (VCH), Ichechi Okonkwo, during the launch of Victoria Bay III and official handover of VCH, in Lagos. PHOTO: Victor Uzoho


• Report shows Nigeria owns the largest share of new housing units in Africa
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Nedcomoaks Limited, Dr Kennedy Okonkwo, has said poor road infrastructure and low access to land were part of the major challenges hindering investments in the real estate sector of the economy.

According to him, the sector provides massive employment and is an integral part of the rebuilding process of the nation’s economy post-COVID-19, hence the need to sanitise and regulate the industry.

Speaking during the launch of Victoria Bay III and the official handover of Victoria Crest Homes (VCH) to new management, in Lagos, he said it was high time the government implemented recommendations given to them by stakeholders in the sector, by constructing durable roads and providing lands to developers at a reduced cost to build low-cost houses.

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His words: “Just imagine the government supporting to develop road infrastructure, providing road access, drainages, and potable pipe-borne water. There are World Bank assisted programmes for all these things, and all they need to do is to get a group of developers and provide those services, and the developers can build there at a reduced cost, which would help provide affordable housing for people.

“What number of houses does the government build in a year? What number of houses do private individuals build in a year? If you check it, you’d see that there is still a lot that can be done. We pray that the government begins to provide lands to developers at a reduced cost so that they can build low-cost houses.”

“The truth of the matter is that Lagos as a population is growing at an alarming rate. We have rural to urban migration of between 1,500 to 2000 people coming into Lagos on a daily basis and these people need to be housed.’

Meanwhile, he said there was the need to encourage the Ministry of Physical Planning, and the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority to continue to carry out their duties judiciously, while the company donated two buses to the government organisations.

In her remarks, the new CEO, VCH, Ichechi Okonkwo, said she would carry on the company’s vision by rolling out more projects that are aimed at making aspirational living affordable.

According to her, it’s a tough call in Nigeria as statistics show that more than 22 million people are displaced, while the government is not doing enough to ensure that these figures are narrowed down.

“In VCH, we look at these numbers and we do what we can to ensure that people actualise their dreams of having good roofs over their heads. We have plans to develop about 1200 units of houses in Lagos this year,” she said.

Meanwhile, Freedonia Group, a leading international industrial research company in its new report, said Nigeria owns the largest share of new housing units in Africa/Mideast region, driven by urban population growth and fast urbanisation rate, and would continue to see growth post-COVID-19.

The report projected fast gains for Nigeria, South Africa, and Iraq, as the markets recovered from weak performances experienced between 2014 and 2019.

New housing investments in the Africa/Mideast region was forecast to increase by an average of 2.3% per year and could hit about 14.3 million units by 2024, making it the fastest growth any world region would experience.

According to the report, the share of multifamily housing has continued to increase due to the steady rural-to-urban migration in the region, resulting in a significant housing deficit. This is an investment opportunity for investors who aim to provide good affordable housing.

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