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Affordable housing: Stakeholders call for collaboration among professionals

By Kingsley Adegboye

Affordable housing in Nigeria will continue to remain a myth until all professionals and institutions involved in housing delivery come together and approach the issue of housing as a system that cannot work without all its components working together simultaneously.

This view was canvassed by built environment expressed who brainstormed on “Affordable Housing Delivery in Nigeria: Myth or Reality?” at the 5th Annual Distinguished Lecture organised by the Lagos State chapter of  Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, NIQS last week.

The housing experts posited that  the government must make land available, the mortgage institutions must be ready and willing to grant mortgage loans while there must be effective secondary market. They  further recommended that building approvals must be processed without difficulties and delays, building materials manufacturers must produce standard materials while the professionals must not compromise in their duties.

In her keynote address, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Amal Pepple stressed the  need for a paradigm shift in the country’s policies on affordable housing delivery in the urban centres from home ownership to social rental housing.

The Minister who was represented by Mr. Temitope Onaikan, Federal Controller, Housing, Lagos state explained that such schemes should not be driven by profit motives of  profit private sector organisations but should cater for the very mobile workforce that are resident in urban centres on a transit basis. According to her,  this will make affordable housing available in urban centres on a sustainable and continuous basis.

Pepple said:“Our goal is to make affordable housing delivery in Nigeria a reality and thereby raise home ownership to about 50 per cent, improve Nigeria’s human development index ranking, expand the construction sector and the mortgage market, significantly reduce poverty in households, increase the productivity/quality of lives of the citizenry and make the housing sector contribute over 20 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP as envisioned in vision 20:2020”.

The president of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, NIQS, Mr. Agele Alufohai opined that the government interventions in housing should be more about creating incentives that stimulate and enable private investment and transactions rather than provide under-priced inputs such as land or finance.

“There should be a distinction between interventions which seek to create market vehicles that enable Nigerians with decent incomes to buy houses, mainly through long term, lower interest mortgages and those that seek to provide accommodation for the poor whose incomes are not too low to be able to afford mortgages”, Alufohai reasoned.

A past president of NIQS, Mr. Olusegun Ajanlekoko submitted that housing delivery in Nigeria will continue to remain a myth as far as efforts towards affordable housing are not on the right part. He pointed out that the government has the social responsibility to provide affordable housing.

Ajanlekoko who is the immediate past president of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, APBN, said that to build affordable housing, there is need to look at the land design, while entire issue requires a holistic approach starting from the government.

In his own submission, the Marketing Director of Nigerite Limited, Toyin Gbede, an Architect,  noted that affordability is a relative term. He enjoined professionals in the housing industry to come together to define affordability. According to him, “we need to look at the value chain to solve the areas we have bottleneck. That is only when housing problem can be in the country”, Gbede said.

Prof. Timothy Nubi of the Department of Estate Management, University of Lagos pointed out that housing is a system, adding that all components must work together to achieve it. He said there is real estate development value chain involving all stakeholders, and until everybody goes through the chain, housing cannot archived in Nigeria.


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