Operators in the real estate sector have advocated for stronger government intervention and provision of incentives to players in the construction value chain to boost housing delivery in the country.
Other suggestions by the operators at a one-day lecture on housing delivery, charting the roadmap, organised by Knight Frank Nigeria recently, include appointing qualified individuals to critical positions in the housing sector and re-examination of regulatory policies.
Others are putting in place necessary legal framework and enforcing them, ensuring pension fund is attractive for housing development and political will by the government to deliver housing to the people.
Hakeem Ogunniran, chairman of Lagos Building Investment Company Plc (LBIC), who moderated a panel discussion at the conference, agreed that the government should play a major role in housing delivery.
He underscored the need for a coalition of critical stakeholders in the housing value chain for deliberations and actions towards reducing the housing deficit.
Ogunniran enumerated the challenges confronting the delivery of housing to the populace including high cost and acquisition of land, poor infrastructure, and funding, explaining that real estate is incompatible with short-term funding.
He also identified technical challenges, the multiplicity of regulatory agencies, the cumbersomeness of regulation, legislative bottlenecks, and the lack of political will by the government to deeply intervene in housing delivery. “In spite of these challenges, operators still struggle to deliver”, he said.
Sade Hughes, country manager, Mixta Nigeria who also spoke at the conference, said the proposed incentives to local manufacturers of building materials will make them produce more and sell at cost-effective rates. She said this will check capital flight spent on buying materials abroad. She also advocated for reduced duty on any material that must be imported.
On how Nigeria can create a system that endures and sees housing as fundamental no matter the political party in power, Uzoamaka Okosun Oshogwe, CEO of Afriland Properties, said this should be enshrined in the constitution. She said the government must see housing as a necessity and a right instead of a privilege.
Kehinde Ogundimu, CEO of Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company, who emphasised data for informed decision and collaboration among public and private sectors, called for the review of the regulatory framework to enhance housing delivery.
May Abdel Hamid, CEO of the Social Housing and Mortgage Finance Fund in Egypt, shared her experience in housing delivery, saying Egypt with a 500,000 annual demand for housing, has made significant progress informed by collaboration, data and government support.
Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, the commissioner for housing, Lagos State, said the shortage of decent homes was common in urban settlements all over the world. He said it has become a major obligation of all governments to respond to the challenge of homelessness and destitution, especially as inflation rises on a global scale.
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Moruf, who was represented by Olukemi Fasudo, director of estates, Lagos ministry of housing, said in Nigeria, demand for decent homes outstrips supply. He attributed this to a huge supply of homes for the rich and so little for the poor.
He called on the private sector investor to look into the diverse long-term gains in rental schemes as opposed to outright sales as the rental system accounts for the home needs of 80.7 percent of Lagosians.
Frank Okosun, CEO, Knight Frank Nigeria, said the conference theme was apt because certain methods have proven impracticable and have since failed and it has become imperative to identify more fit-for-purpose models for housing delivery.