The lack of the required inputs for affordable housing has been identified as the major reasons affordable housing has remained elusive in the country despite efforts from both the public and private sectors. According to Hakeem Oguniran, the managing director UACN Property Development Company Plc, the hope of Nigerians for affordable housing may not be realized at the moment in the country due high costs of building materials. He said that the over dependence on imported materials for housing production is not helping matters.
The challenge has become a major concern for the stakeholders in the housing sector as the same factors continue to truncate mass housing drive in the country.
Ogunniran said “most of the quality building materials we have in this country are imported and the rise in the exchange of dollars, they import to us at expensive rate.”
The UPDC boss noted that other limited availability of skilled manpower in the sector with few competent hands to handle different models of building has increased the cost of building production.
Ogunniran added that land titling; cost of perfecting titles to land has over the years been the bane to housing development in the country.
He said: “The Federal Government about seven years ago set up a presidential technical committee to work on that now they are at the stage of piloting in two states Gombe and Kano states. The second area is in the area of funding financing, especially retail financing which is how to make funding a lot more accessible and of course about a year and half ago the Federal Government launched the Nigeria Refinancing Company of Nigeria to create and provide liquidity in the secondary market for real estate
“The third element is about construction methodology and no work has been done in that area at all. The greatest challenge to us today is that a lot of people still construct in the traditional way. There are lots of people who build their own homes, they start by buying the land, when they have some money they start building.
“ The truth is that it will be impossible to meet the housing gap in this country if we continue to build in the traditional way and that why when we see solutions in the market which brings efficiency, standardization, credibility which speaks to the fundamental principles of sustainability we support the initiative.”
For the president of Nigerian- British Chamber of Commerce Prince Dapo Adebule, the solution could be found in the real sector reformation bill, assuring that the chamber will assist in lobbying for the bill to pass through the National Assembly.
By Pita Ochai