• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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What Tinubu must do to solve Nigeria’s housing challenge, by Adeoye

What Tinubu must do to solve Nigeria’s housing challenge, by Adeoye

Despite multiple schemes implemented by various governments around the country, affordable housing remains elusive to Nigerians. Adelaja Adeoye, real estate developer and CEO of Fendini Homes in this exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK, spoke on what the country must do to solve the housing challenge and why affordable housing has remained elusive. Excerpts:

Over 52% of Nigeria’s population is said to be living in shanties, squatter communities, and informal settlements despite multiple schemes. What is your take on the situation?

The government needs to go back to providing real affordable and subsidised housing schemes for citizens, in order to close the gap of homelessness and engage in urban regeneration. People living in slums and shanties are those with no alternative options, as we all know shelter is one of the basic needs of mankind.

It is very sad that the economic power and affordability of these citizens can’t get them a decent living, hence the reason the government must step up for these underprivileged.

Various housing schemes by successive governments have failed; what do you think is often the problem?

A lot of government projects that fail might be a result of improper contracts, corruption, and greed from contractors. When a contract to provide a housing scheme is not properly tidied up, it is bound to fail, such that if the finance does not add up, you will see the likelihood that the contractor will dump the project along the way.

Also, if it is being funded directly by the government, you’ll see undue interference by some of the government people, who may frustrate the project, as they may be making demands that will throw the project at a loss. Inadequate funding and corruption are also there to stall these projects.

Efforts of private investors in housing delivery have been noted in recent decades, but the houses are often unaffordable to average Nigerians. What can be done to improve the situation?

We must understand that there are different categories of houses, while some are of low-end; others are for high-end exquisite users, depending on the financial capacity.

The cost of construction is the main reason the prices of houses are expensive, looking at the spiral Inflation, no one will spend N100m to build a house and sell it for N50m. That is why I said earlier that the government can come up with affordable housing that is not too expensive, to enable citizens to have access, via direct purchases or mortgage financing.

What is your take on the housing policy of the Bola Tinubu administration?

It is too early to start talking about his policy, as they have not really done much, the Minister for Housing is speaking on the creation of housing estates in various states, so we are watching them now.

The problem of land grabbers is an issue that has affected housing delivery and land ownership, what can the government do?

The land grabbers issue is getting resolved gradually, as state governments have started to automate land acquisition processes with anti-land grabbing laws.

So, the law court is also there for people to explore in the case of land ownership tussle, so I think what people need is to know which of the options is suitable for them when confronted with land grabbers. Knowledge is also very key in this regard.

Again, it is very important that before buying any land, you must conduct a reconnaissance survey to know the status of that land, in order to avoid problems. Most of the disputed lands are as a result of failure to do due diligence before purchasing them.

A lot of people would probably be wondering why the decision to go into the real estate business?

I spent over 10 years working in the oil and gas and banking sector, and while at it, I was on a part-time doing real estate as a side hustle, helping people to get accommodation, and sell lands. So, it is not something I just jumped into.

When the opportunity came to scale it up, I went into the full property development business, with our flagship project, Rayfield Gardens City Estate, a PPP project with the Oyo State government, where we are developing modern and smart duplexes and terraces for urban living.

Your company has grown significantly in the last few years, could you share your experience for young entrepreneurs?

The entrepreneurship journey is not a straight line or curve; you must be determined to succeed, as there will always be challenges at every point in the journey.

So, like I told people, money is not the first ingredient, but your focus, determination and ability to plan well and follow the plans step by step.

I mean you must be willing to take risks, be flexible in your approach, learn to network within and outside your industry and then be able to come up with solutions to problems, with excellent customer service.

When you create a solution to people’s problems, and then are willing to flow with them in resolving whatever the problems are, you will always earn a decent living.

We build Fendini Group with the determination to succeed and put together young and smart eggheads, who also want to make their mark. All we can say is to thank God as we are still a work in progress, hoping to have our footprint in every corner of this country soon.

How has the exchange rate policy affected business in the last one year?

businesses, including ours, are facing the issue of FX rate, as the cost of materials has gone up so high, the purchasing power of the people have reduced, the timeline of completing projects has been extended, and re-negotiation has been the order of the day for older projects caught up with inflation. So, generally, the foreign exchange is volatile and it is affecting our business as well.

Your company is situated and operates from Ibadan, how is doing business there compared to Lagos?

We operate both in Lagos and Ibadan only and our estate development project, Rayfield Gardens City Estate, Alao Akala GRA is in Ibadan. This is a modern estate, which will soon pride itself as one of the best real estate investment destinations in Ibadan and Nigeria as a whole.

You know how it is to build an estate from scratch; it affords you the opportunity to infuse creativity in your building designs, and architectural marvels. So, the level of ongoing infrastructure is setting the estate apart from others, thankfully, those who have visited for inspection are giving us good reviews and commendations.