The development of local building materials will help to reduce Nigeria’s housing deficit, the Managing Director, TAF Africa Homes, Mr Mustapha Njie, has said.
Njie said if the government, developers and individuals encouraged the use of local building materials, it would help drive down prices and make houses available to those who need them.
He spoke at the July breakfast meeting and inauguration of the Property, Construction and Infrastructure Group of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce in Lagos, where he was represented by the Legal Adviser, TAF Africa Homes, Mr Lucky Kawekwune.
According to him, if the government gives tax incentives to companies producing local building materials, it will encourage others to invest in the business.
Njie also called on the government to reduce or completely remove taxes on building materials imported into the country, where local substitutes were not readily available.
“The government should also be more involved and deliberate in building mass houses,” he added.
He said real estate could be the biggest contributor to economic growth in Nigeria and Africa in general if steps were taken to grow the industry.
Njie noted that there were many opportunities in the real estate industry made possible by increasing population, with a growth rate of 2.6 per cent; urbanisation and urban migration; increase in the number affluent people; and improvement in people’s living standards, among others.
He also urged the government to address the challenges confronting the industry, such as land titling, inadequate financing and access to land, and endeavour to work with professionals.
The National President, NACC, Otunba Oluwatoyin Akomolafe, stated that realising the importance of secured access to land as a fundamental challenge to housing delivery in the country, successive governments had developed and created government residential layouts in several locations within the country.
He said some of the residential layouts were fully and partly developed with housing units and sold to the public, while the rest were developed and created as site and services schemes and allocated to members of the public.
Akomolafe explained that some housing estates were promoted and developed by state government parastatals and corporations, which involved the provision of land by the state government to the corporations, issuing of Certificates of Occupancy, handing over land, granting planning approvals and providing necessary support to facilitate the execution of the housing projects.
He said, “It is regrettable that despite these great policies, institutions and regulations, which various governments, including the state governments, have put in place since independence, the task of instituting efficient, effective, affordable and sustainable housing delivery processes continues to challenge policy makers even as the problems of the housing sector worsens.
“This has been attributed to multiplicity of factors, which include lack of secure access to land, high cost of construction, limited access to finance, bureaucratic procedures, high cost of land registration and titling, uncoordinated policies and implementation at federal and state level, ownership rights under the Land Use Act, affordability gap, inefficient development control, youths’ harassment of developers, and inelegant revocation and compensation process, among others.”
According to him, one characteristic of these government residential layouts, including those developed by the corporations, is a general lack of infrastructural facilities like roads, drains, electricity and water, among others.
He said the absence of infrastructural facilities in the layouts had, in no small measure, compounded the problem of housing shortage in the nation.