By Victoria Ojeme
As the Nigerian Economy gradually emerges from the conundrum of a recession, the property market has explore meaningful ways to extend the active participation of related industries in its growth and progress.
The result is the steady increase in real estate investment that has pave way for job creation to Nigerians.
A major benefit of involving private developers in the development of mass housing project, like RIVER PARK, is the enhanced speed of housing delivery when private sector partners are involved;
Another benefit is the contribution the private sector can make to the development of secondary infrastructure that would have normally been the responsibility of the Federal Capital Territory, thereby easing budgetary pressures on the public sector to deliver them.
At the commissioning of RIVER PARK Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has disclosed that it will take Nigeria almost 2030 to bridge the housing deficit.
He noted that the development of housing estates could also be fast-tracked through Public-Private-Partnership arrangements as exemplified by the River Park Estate which was built by two firms, including Houses for Africa and Jonah Capital Nigeria and other partners.
According to him, “Judging by present performance, can we produce half a million housing unit per annum, if we put it mildly, it will be very unrealistic”.
“Even at 10 occupants per housing units , we will need 20m additional housing units and assuming we have improved our performance and we can produce 4m units per annum, it will still take us 20 years to meet the demand”.
He emphasised that housing would continue to be a challenge in Nigeria even in the next two generations.
“If investors want to go to an area where there will be handsome return for them , housing must be one of such areas”.
Obasanjo said there is a need for government to think out of the box , act out of the box with greater performance and efficiency so as to make impact in housing production stressing that it would no longer be business as usual, which he described as part of the problems of democracy.
“In democracy, not only did we need to provide houses but also provide education, healthcare delivery , employment and jobs and more than 50 percent of our population will be urban dwellers”.
He said there is a need to introduce urgency, technology and innovation to various housing programmes and projects in order to provide adequate shelter for the population.
While appealing to the Federal Capital Territory and Federal Capital Development Authority to provide adequate access road as stipulated in the estate agreement, he said it would be morally wrong to build such massive estate without access road.
He congratulated Nigerians for their contributions towards the success of the estate even as he enjoined the management to complete the 10, 000 units which was captured in the agreement as it would help in addressing the housing needs of Nigerians .
The elder statesman said the PPP arrangement in estate development was part of the policy adjustment undertaken by his administration in 2007 to boost interest in housing construction in the country.
Obasanjo explained that the approval for mass housing estate schemes was used to introduce the PPP into the real estate sector between the Federal Capital Territory Administration and private developers.
The Chairman, River Park Estate, Paul Odili commended Obasanjo for the roles his administration played in encouraging private investments in mass housing estates development.