By Kingsley Adegboye
Despite efforts by the Federal and State governments to make home ownership affordable to Nigerians, affordable housing will continue to remain a mere wishful thinking. This view was canvassed by a former Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Building, NIOB, Mr Kunle Awobudu in a chat with Vanguard Homes & Property in Lagos.
Awobodu who is also the National Publicity Secretary of the Institute, said affordable housing in Nigeria will remain a mirage because of the rising cost of building materials, labour and lack of effective mortgage system.
He regretted that the pension funds which should have been ploughed into the mortgage sector has been wrongfully diverted to the pockets of individual managers of the funds.
The Builder who described construction activities as the barometer for measuring a nation’s economic growth, declared that it is very easy for one to determine if a nation’s economy is sick through building construction activities.
Awobodu who is the CO of Reo-Habilis Nigeria Limited, a firm of building works called on the government to create an atmosphere devoid of exploitation by building materials manufacturers and suppliers.
“For instance, cement is a major ingredient in the production of buildings. The higher the volume in the market, the lower the scarcity, and that is why we are highly elated about the commissioning of Dangote cement company at Ibeshe, Ogun State last week. We hope that it will translate to reduction in price of cement in the country,” he said.
Continuing, th NIOB image maker said it would be an irony if the newly commissioned Lakatabu Plant by Lafarge Cement at Ewekoro, Ogun State that is supposed to produce 2.5 million metric tonnes per annum into circulation combined with Ibeshe plant with the capacity of 6 million metric tonnes per annum fail to impact positively on the price of cement.
‘’This is because the demand for cement which is about 15 million metric tonnes annually in Nigeria is now less than the total local production capacity around the country. Local production capacity across the country conservatively put, is over 28 million metric tonnes.
But then, to bring the price of cement down to a reasonable level, the government should endeavour to put the country’s refineries in good conditions so that the energy cost that accounts for 60 per cent of the cement production cost is reduced to the barest minimum.
‘’Also, there is the need for the government to bring sanity into built environment in Nigeria. There is the need for the government to enforce the implementation of the National Building Code. The Building Code contains a lot of regulations that will help to improve the quality of building production in Nigeria. Each state government should adopt such regulations in administering building control indexes’’, NIOB spokesman said.