By Naomi Uzor
The Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) has called on the government to come up with viable legal framework for real estate sector to provide affordable houses for Nigerians.
The call was made by the Managing Director, UACN Property Development Company Plc (UPDC), Mr. Hakeem Ogunniran at the NBCC Breakfast Meeting held in Lagos.
Speaking on a topic, “Real Estate: An Agenda for the New Government”, Mr. Ogunniran identified unavailability of titled land, multiplicity of regulatory authorities with oversight functions, unfriendly approval, lack of infrastructure, poor funding and labour shortage as some of the challenges confronting housing development in Nigeria. He said most of the problems were as a result of lack of clear legal framework for the industry. He however advised the government to enact quality laws that will pave way for affordable housing in the country.
Prince Dapo Adelegan, President NBCC in his opening remark said with the population of over 170 million people, Nigeria will need about 16 million housing units to shelter its citizens since over 50 per cent of people are either homeless or live in inadequate houses, saying, it has become obvious that the government cannot singlehandedly meet this crucial need of the people, hence the need for public-private partnership.
He said: “It is important to have some public-private partnership arrangements to come up with an ingenious ways to build cheaper homes and provide affordable mortgages to the citizens. NBCC will collaborate with UPDC to pursue passage of viable legal framework at the National Assembly to enhance provision of affordable houses for Nigerians,” .
Speaking further, Mr. Ogunniran explained that affordable housing is possible in Nigeria with a new approach in which government will be responsible for the provision of land, infrastructure and enabling environment for investors.
“ At that platform, we would have financiers, developers and other regulatory agencies who will make it easy and cheaper to deliver those houses at a price point that is affordable by the people in that category. Under the present dispensation it is difficult to deliver houses in that category because you have to buy your land in the open market, apply for permission and approval in the same way, pay all the fees, go through custom without any concession,” Mr. Ogunniran explained.
He said Nigeria is currently ranked 86 out of 102 in the Global Real Estate Transparency Index which he said was not good enough for the nation. He cited success recorded by Kenya in the sector which Nigeria will need to emulate.