Housing Framework in Nigeria is Ineffective – ESV. CLAIRE AFULENU CHIZEA

By Festus OSEJI

Please, What Do You Understand by Urbanization in the Nigerian Perspective

Urbanization is a global phenomenon, an internationally accepted English phrase that describes the migration of people from rural areas to developed or developing centers in search of better opportunities. A movement driven by the declining interest in agricultural jobs in pursuit of opportunities in commercial, industrial and public sectors. There cannot therefore, be a Nigerian concept. It is universal. Nigeria has witnessed, and continues to witness such massive shifts, post-colonial to regional centers and more recently to the commercial and administrative centers of Lagos and Abuja; a fall out from the country’s neglect of agriculture and solid mineral mining sectors of the economy and pseudo federalism.

Thoughts on Sustainable Development Against Rapid Growth Of Housing In Nigeria?

The old Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lekki axis and recently Ibadan expressway all in Lagos and developments in Abuja municipality, can be said to have witnessed some form of rapid growth in housing stock in the past 20 years or so. This growth is a direct result of public active participation in development, given the freedoms associated with democratic norms, which is driven by effective demands. This has nothing to do with government inactions, and long policy talks. The profitability in this public participation and the development of newer, cheaper and green forms of living given its international dimensions and availability of funds will drive its sustainability nationwide.

PPP Initiatives in Housing Delivery; How Plausible And Your View On The Possibilities?

My view is as contained in (2) above. PPP is not new. It had been practiced under the sites and services scheme of the first republic, but government laxity, and stranglehold on land and source of financing, the mortgage organizations, rendered it ineffective

Institutional Framework For Housing Development, How Effective So Far And What Should Be Done To Improve On It?

The existing framework if there is any is not effective. The land use degree should be abrogated, and a technology based land registration information system be put in place. The land use process of land acquisition is not only unjust and immoral; it is a major source of high cost of housing delivery. Planning process approval should be reviewed with very short time duration, all done online. A reduction in person contact will go a long way in curbing malpractices that result in poor construction and cost. An efficient monitoring system of construction sites should be put in place all contactless and where necessary an assessment group inclusive of neighborhood association involvement. Tax incentives should be provided for developers, given the fact that a vibrant housing industry is a sign of a good economy. It is the biggest provider of jobs and employer of labor, from land acquisition to construction, to living/use of the structure. Government should be serious with positive road and rail infrastructure policies, connecting cities, towns and rural areas. These should be privately executed and tolled.

Your thoughts on Funding & Financing Imperatives In Housing Development

A virile mortgage institution, devoid of government interference, is a basic infrastructure for funding of housing development.

What Is Your Take On The Merging one of the Most Critical Ministries; That Is Ministry Of Power, Works And Housing Since 2015, Leaving Out The Urban Development Aspect?

I think it was an ill-advised move, more for politics than for development. I hope this error will be reversed now.

In The Next Couple Of Weeks New Ministers Will Be Announced; What Is Your Advice As A Professional/Expert In The Built Environment As Regards The Housing, Urban Development?

I would rather submit that the heads of the executive, that is the president and governors, should appoint professionals/experts in the specific fields. When that is done, the individuals will be grounded and can better grapple with technicalities, and can interpret data without the help of advisers or consultants, in addition, the professional bodies, will be better positioned to efficiently, interface with the ministers and commissioners. This will effectively address most of the challenges; the individual may encounter in his/her duties in public administration.

What Is The Current Ratio Of Housing Deficit In Nigeria In Particular And Africa In General?

I doubt an accurate data exists, though the government/ CAHF puts it at a figure of 17-20 million. I will opine that the figure is likely higher, given the information from demand for all types of accommodation in our database.

Just Last Week, The National Real Estate Data Portal Was Launched; What Will This Bring To The Sector?

Its usefulness will depend on the reliability of the imputed data, as the portal is only a gateway or a door, to access real estate information. Power challenges still does havoc to computer and technological tools in our climes.

Real Estate As An Asset And A Business; Explain The Concept And Nigerians Views As A Professional In This Sector?

Real estate becomes an asset or business, depending on the holders and purposes of its ownership. An individual or business can carry it as an asset, an illiquid form of money to pass to inheritors, the case in privately held real estate in Nigeria, till recently or as a form of collateral to raise funds for non-tangible asset production, and a sign of financial well-being. Nigeria’s millennial and generation X with their international exposure, holds a different and more modern view of the world, want to live their dream as such hold real estate as a business, unlike their parents.

The Advances In Technology Have Really Brought About Disruptive Changes Over The Years In The Real Estate Industry; What Is Your View On This?

I will call it a positive disruptive change. Technology has made it easier for owners and developers to view their assets in real time at the concept stage. This makes housing development, participatory, faster to execute and less costly as nonfunctional area can be seen in 3D and remedied early enough.

Speak On Investment Opportunities & Considerations In The Real Estate Sector.

I believe a great deal of opportunity exists in the building material design and manufacture segment of real estate development. There is a shift to building of green homes and creation of walk able cities, opportunities exists here. In addition, there is a high demand for low/ medium income housing, which requires necessary SME funding institutions to address the accommodation needs, of the informal sector. I want to emphasize, that Real Estate includes, commercial, industrial, recreational and residential uses, even though we are addressing housing, which is a residential need, but we must bear in mind, that urbanization is a direct cause of housing shortages as most houses are converted for other uses. People move not to seek residences but work opportunities, this fact, must therefore be factored into all housing supply policy.

Speak On The Unethical And Unprofessional Sharp Practices Been Seen Across The Sector?

Unethical practice is what it is unethical. The competitive nature of real estate industry lends itself to such abuse. It is an open business, with few regulations, easy to enter by all kinds of people. Professional bodies are set up to help regulate members and curb these human psychological defects. A human being, made in the image of God will find it difficult to do unethical things. I can only desire the world produces less ego-based human beings.

On The Part Of The Professionals; What Should Be Done To Curb The Menace And Unprofessional Practice In The Real Estate Sector In Nigeria?

Bring in more practitioners, under the net of well-streamlined regulatory bodies, and prosecute when necessary.

Challenges Faced And Advice To The Government On The Way Forward For The Sector?

Easily identifiable major challenges for practitioners, include, land acquisition and building approval processes. The weak tenancy laws, which lean heavily on tenants, is a major setback to rental property development, a medium that would have great impact on the total housing stock. Not everyone desires or can afford to own property. A tenancy law that is just and protects the property owner’s right will go a long way in providing housing which will in turn reduce the housing gap. My advice to the various levels of government; governments advice and takes advice only from itself, but I will simply say, to the functionaries, remember there is life outside, the corridors of power, so make and implement policies, that will allow you to sleep and move freely after office, and not prisoners to your security guards or sirens.

Your Final Thoughts

The world is moving and changing. Nigeria must embrace the new world.

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