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Stakeholders urge FG to focus on Urban regeneration to facilitate affordable housing

Stakeholders in the real estate sector have called on federal and state governments to focus on urban regeneration and provision of infrastructure at project sites to facilitate affordable housing. This was revealed on the sideline of a workshop organised by Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria in Abuja.

The director, University of Lagos Centre for Housing Studies, Prof Olugbenga Timothy Nubi enjoined governments to focus on urban regeneration adding that 20 to 30 percent of infrastructure makes up construction. He emphasised that real estate development processes could be designed in a way that it would produce linkages between over 250 ancillary industries.

This he said is an indication of the opportunities that existed in the building processes, meant to aid mutually beneficial relationships among stakeholders.

He lamented that only vibrant organisations would survive in the highly competitive real estate sector, regretting that Nigeria’s construction sector faced stiff competition from both local and international players.

“Chinese companies are already strong players in the country’s road construction, telecommunications and electrical infrastructure sectors”, he said.

Nubi pointed out that, housing suppliers, whether government, non-government or private has the ability to marshal the various risks and elements of the real estate development value chain. The Don harped on the need for collaborative efforts among stakeholders in order to mitigate the risks so as to redistribute rewards with the aim of enhancing organisational efficiency.

He noted that real estate development would thrive in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement where the private sector constructs, leases and manages properties for a given period of time while the public sector maintained ownership rights.

Nubi said that a mortgage arrangement could be structured to ensure that ownership rights are transferred to the occupier rather than the government at the end of the expiration period.

He noted that over 45 estates stretching over 15 kilometres in Lagos are dying.

On his part, the president of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Bobbai Kaigama stated that government should  provide infrastructure at the project sites to enable contractors reduce the cost of houses. This he believed would lessen the over 17 million housing deficit saying that workers would continue to fight institutions that offer mortgage loans at double digit interest rate.

He noted that the Union cannot underestimate REDAN’s contributions to the development of affordable housing in the country adding that mortgages are only processed at single digit worldwide.

According to him, “Any developer that goes to any financial institution offering double digit interest rate is not intending to develop for Nigeria because even in Europe, mortgages are not processed in double digits”.

Kaigama said the reason for increasing unoccupied houses is due to absence of research oriented development stressing that the cost of houses are  above the income level of prospective subscribers.

He noted that except government provided infrastructure on all phases of development in the Abuja masterplan that the target of developing affordable housing would continue to be a mirage.

“It’s the responsibility of government to provide infrastructure and any government that fails to do so is not prepared for housing development”, he added.

While urging REDAN to continue synergising with the working class, he pointed out that the union has decided to collaborate with Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to ensure that workers access affordable housing.

Credit: Leadership

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