The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) has called on the federal government to pay attention to the high cost of building materials if it truly desires to provide affordable housing for the low and medium-income earners, the less privileged and vulnerable people of Nigeria.
The institution also noted that no single cause can be identified to explain Nigeria’s poor economic performance over the years than the power situation, pointing out that “it is a national shame that an economy of about 180 million has about 12,500MWT of installed capacity as at today, with about 3,000 to 5,000MWT being transmitted to the final consumers when South Africa with a population of about 58 million generates about 59,000MWT shows that we have a long way to go.”
The NIESV said the cry has become imperative because 60 per cent of the total cost of construction goes into building materials, which has everything to do with housing development in the country.
The President of the National Council of NISEV, Chief Emmanuel Wike stated this in Benin City, capital of Edo State at a press conference to mark its 5th Council Meeting.
He noted further that housing development alone could drive the nation’s economy if adequate attention was paid to the high cost of building materials with a view to reducing them to a reasonable level.
According to Wike, “Government must proffer solutions that will reduce the cost of building materials to ensure adequate housing developm ent, affordability and delivery.”
To achieve this, he added that government must work on factors responsible for high cost of building materials, identifying these factors as exchange rate of the Naira, cost of raw materials, epileptic power supply, cost of fuel, transportation and distribution; inadequate infrastructure, political interference, government policies and legislation.
On power, he said, “The continuous tinkering with the structures of power supply and distribution with several billions of dollars spent since 1999 have only brought darkness, frustration, misery and worrisome situation among Nigerians.”
Chief Wike stated that the importance of power supply should never be underestimated, adding that development cannot be achieved without adequate power supply.
His word: “Epileptic power supply in Nigeria has retarded industrial development, economic development, cost of productions, market price, and quality of services. It is a major determinant in job and wealth creation.”
Wike said though the NIESV understood that the power sector was in a very difficult situation and that a lot needed to be done to firm things up, but that the solution went beyond increasing tariff.
He said there should be a complete restructuring and overhaul in such a way as to ensure proper capacity at the distribution and transmission levels by involving private operators with the technical knowledge.
“It goes beyond throwing money into the sector. Already, the government has invested hugely in terms of capital and interventions. Trillions of Naira have been invested into this sector with little improvement to show for it. Increasing tariffs and injecting funds into the system is not the solution that will get us out of this situation.
“A very radical solution must be found to get us out of here. State interest, in form of state governments investing in the market space, must be encouraged and legislated. If need be, private sector participation must be encouraged,” the NIESV president stated.