By Kennedy Mbele
Ambassador Adaralegbe Akintayo, a real estate mogul and a serial entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of T-Pumpy Concept Ltd, a company that deals in affordable and luxury apartments. T Pumpy has a growing real estate brand and interest in Abuja, Ekiti and Ondo.
In an encounter with Sunday Vanguard, Akintayo speaks on bridging housing deficit in the country among other issues in the sector. Excerpts:
Can you tell us about growing up, parental influence and those things that shaped your life?
Growing up, I was born in Ilorin and we relocated to Oye in Ekiti State in 1989. I grew up in a village where I made friends and foes. My father was a photographer while my mother was a petty trader.
In the course of all this, what would you say was the turning point and have your aspirations & dreams been met overtime?
I discovered that I was brought up in a very honest background; that is what my father would say to me and my siblings. He always told us that we should be honest in all our dealings
T Pumpy as a brand is highly sought after. What are some of the services it offers and how has it fared over the years?
We are mainly into site services. What I mean by site services is providing a land and giving us specification of what to build, though we are going into full construction in due time. We have been doing this over the years and we are grateful to God Almighty.
In the course of doing this, what has been the outcome knowing there are some ambassadors under the brand T Pumpy and also what has been the success story of the brand over the years?
I started with 36 units, don’t forget T Pumpy has been in existence since 2010 but we went into full development work in 2015. That is where I started from with 36 units of an estate but one thing is that God has been faithful. From 36 units, we moved to 41 units, then 47 units. We are grateful to God because in Abuja alone now, we have over 48 estates.
Taking a look at the real estate sector, what do you think government can do in order to reduce the deficit in housing?
I think government should come with a good policy that will support developers. Government by so doing should create an enabling environment for developers. Developers should adhere to government master plan so that we can work together and meet the necessary issues that would make the sector a better place.
How do you cope with the prices of building materials as a developer considering the fact that you have gone into a partnership to deliver units to clients and later the prices changed?
You don’t need to go back to them to explain. It is one of the hazards of the business. You don’t go back to your clients because you have a written agreement; even in government circle, there is what we call variation. Also from our own side, if we have an agreement, we believe that the agreement is binding.
I still have people staying in my Phase One Estate who have not completed their payments up till now and I haven’t disturbed them though in our agreement, it is expressly stated that price is subject to change or review before full payment but, up till now, we have never reviewed their price or chase them out. I am not encouraging them not to pay but we are just telling you we like keeping to our own side of agreement.
We all know the real estate sector is filled with quacks. How do you think government as regulator can reduce quacks in the sector thereby avoiding substandard construction?
I agree with you in terms of construction but people are trying to find their daily means of livelihood. I don’t feel that should be a problem because some of them are trying to develop when they are actually agents. It is not a problem, but let them just do the right thing by getting experts to supervise the job.
When it comes to construction, experts should be allowed to do the job of quacks calling themselves engineers. This should be an area of interest to government. Any construction done by these men should not be approved.
On daily basis, the industry is evolving. What your take on green and smart home, considering how people see it as luxury in this part of the world when we as a nation are still grappling with the effect of unstable power?
You find out that the whole world is going smart if you noticed, starting with our parents back in the days. They started with houses such as ‘face me I face you’. After that era, we had two flats; from there, we began to see four flats in a storey building before we moved into a duplex standing alone and now to terrace and we are going smart, so we have to go the way the world is going. The entire T Pumpy is going smart and our structures are going to be green and smart homes henceforth.
Take a look at the growing population on ground. We have a housing deficit. How do you intend to partner mortgage banks to deliver more houses to low-income earners?
The Federal Mortgage Bank is doing its best but the challenge we are experiencing in the real estate sector is the cost of building, and the amount the Federal Mortgage Bank is selling to the highest civil servant is 15 million naira. I don’t see such making any impact for levels 10, 12 and 13 officers in the civil service that want to go for house mortgage and, if you view it, 15 million can’t go for what they really want, so we are trying in that regard to see what we could do by appealing to government that they should see to this challenge because it wouldn’t be enough for them to really get what they want; so if the price could go up, it will be able to measure for it in terms of cost.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, there is this global projection by 2027 that the real estate sector will be about 4.2 trillion dollars. So how prepared are you and the T Pumpy brand in order to maximize the opportunities if not globally, then within our own economy?
With God all things are possible and we believe that with consistency, the sky shall be our starting point.
During the Covid-19 pandemic last year, many businesses were shut down. How do you manage to remain afloat despite its biting pangs?
We just had to brace up for the challenge. It was a global issue, not an internal issue. We were able to manage through it. I can tell you that we are almost out of it.
As the Chairman and CEO of T-Pumpy Concepts Ltd and other subsidiaries of business, what is the projection of T-Pumpy Concept Ltd and its subsidiaries in the next couple of years?
Our projections are clear. If we view things as they stand, we are moving into all the 36 states across the country. Presently we are in Ekiti. We are also moving to Ibadan and making sure we spread our tentacles all over the federation. That is our projection and that is what we are working on.
Sometimes ago, you said the T-Pumpy brand was on its way to creating jobs for the teeming youths thereby alleviating poverty and unemployment. How has that been favorable to young people in the real estate sector under your brand?
Presently we have over 100 plus direct jobs and over 500 indirect jobs; then I can tell you we have over 1,000 semi-indirect. Let me explain that these direct are people working with us presently. indirect are those that work with us on our site such as suppliers, bricklayers carpenters, iron benders, plumbers and so on we have over 500 of that, then what I mean by semi-indirect are those who earn their living through what we do like those on agency bringing people to buy our properties and they get percentage and they are many.
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