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Policy inconsistencies hinder home ownership in Nigeria – Expert

Policy inconsistencies by successive administrations, which hinder home ownership in Nigeria, have been attributed to increasing housing deficit in Nigeria, Mr. Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), has said.

But experts in the industry having reviewed the challenge of housing deficit in the country have again preferred ways Nigeria can overcome her 17 million units deficit.

Mustapha said this statement last week in Abuja while receiving delegates from the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), who paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

According to the top government functionary, 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.

In a statement Andrew Uhwe, Director Press, Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF), 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.

While commending the productive efforts of Nigerians in Diaspora through their remittances to the economy, Mustapha added that their friends and relatives could invest these remittances in beautiful estates for those in diaspora to halt the problem of fraud and abuse of trust.

Earlier, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, the Chairman of the Board, said the visit was to brief the SGF on activities and challenges of the agency and to seek for support and intervention in key areas of concern.

He stressed that in the 45 years history of the FHA government had made huge investment in housing projects.

He, however, lamented the challenge of poor budgetary funding and requested that states assist the agency with suitable lands where they could build and sell.

He solicited for the amelioration of their estates ravaged by ecological problems requesting that the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government coordinates the diaspora city project.

At a recent forum in Lagos, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, Lagos state commissioner for Housing 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.

Citing Lagos as example, Lawal urged stakeholders to adopt rent-to-own strategy, saying this would go a long way to cushion the burden of homelessness or incease home ownership in Nigeria.

Dr. Chii Akporji, Executive Director, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), said, 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 made a mere political stunt and has not really tied it to improving the welfare of citizens.

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

She called for re-visitation of the nation’s mortgage system in order to make finance affordable to buyers.

Similarly, Dr. Kennedy Okonkwo, a developer and Chief Executive Officer, Nedcom Oaks, said there is a need for a radical perspective on the part of all relevant stakeholders, especially in the area of making land available.

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

According to Mr. Jide Odusolu, Special Adviser to Ogun state governor on housing said 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.

Kola Aina, an investor and founder of Ventures Platform, 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.

Prof. Modupe Omirin, Head, Department of Estate Management, University of Lagos, stressed the need for individuals to be empowered so as not to be seen unduly as the weakest person.

She lamented that government has not done enough to provide infrastructure, which made homeowners pay more than renters.

Rogba Orimalade, chairman, Lagos State chapter, Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), said there is lack of dynamism among professionals in the real estate sector and called creative leadership among them.

To Orimalade, it is not enough having policies, there must be political will on the part of government to change the situation about housing stressing that the high interest in mortgage financing is affecting investment in housing and thereby impending affordable housing.

Credit: Independent 

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