By Chris Ochayi
Stakeholders in the built industry have mapped out strategies with which to address the issues of local production of building materials and access to land, which over the years, have remained a major impediment to the growth and development of the sector in the country.
Apart from the encumbrances of land acquisition and building materials, the burning issue of mortgage financing and funding construction, also form part of the agenda to be addressed as stakeholders converge on Abuja, the nation’s capital for the 3rd Abuja Investment EXPO 2018.
Speaking on the exhibition slated for 24th to 26th, July 2018, Vice- President (Commerce), of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, ACCI, Johnson Somadina Anene, assured that the conference would come up with solutions to most of the problems militating against housing development in the country. The theme of the EXPO is: Land as a Catalyst for Economic Advancement.
Speaking further, Anene said: “You know the importance of shelter and we know that we have serious deficiencies in the housing sector of the country. So, we want to use this expo to address that and it is intended to project the provision of quality and affordable housing for the people.
“And we also want to use it to canvass for the local production of building materials which we are sure will contribute in reducing the cost of housing. Secondly, we are also going to use that to address the issue of difficulty in accessing land and also the difficulty in registering land titles.
“Thirdly, the expo will seek to also address the burning issue of mortgage financing and provision of funds for construction because if the cost of construction is high, it will add to the cost of delivery and on the long run, the final consumers will bear the brunt.
“So, the bottom line is to try as much as possible to reduce the cost of production because if you cannot reduce the cost of production, it now becomes even more difficult to reduce the selling price of any product. You have to work on the cost of production, get it as low as possible so that the delivery price will be able to come down.
“The theme: Land as a catalyst for economic advancement, does not mean that we are restricting ourselves to construction and using local materials despite the importance of housing for human beings, but we know that whatever we do is on land even if you are rendering services.
“So, the focus here is on land not on building or construction. The theme: Land as a catalyst for economic advancement, means that every economic activity has a bearing whether directly or indirectly on land. This further means that land is very key to anything, any economic activity that you wish to engage in.
“If we can make access to land easier and more affordable, it will affect every other thing. That is why we have pinned it down to land, that is, making land more easily accessible to business people for economic activities”, Anene noted.
According to him, “This expo is also intended to help in furthering Federal Government’s initiative on poverty alleviation and job creation and by so doing, improve the security of lives and property
“This is the third edition, it started in 2016. The last two editions held at the Yar’Adua Centre and they were successful and we are confident that this year’s edition will be very successful given the level of cooperation and patronage.
“We are sure it will impact very positively on the participants both foreign and local on the one hand, and the nation on the other hand. Most of the embassies are interested in the expo, and quite a good number of companies from those countries have indicated their willingness to attend this programme and Nigerian business organisations too.
“The programme is going to be in several folds; there will be exhibition of products and services, business seminars, business to business meetings and talk shows. It is meant to exchange ideas for those that are looking for partners, agents, new markets and those aspiring to explore new business opportunities,” Anene said.