Linus Aleke, Abuja:
As the nation struggles to bridge the embarrassing gap in housing deficit, the President Oak Group Real Estate Consultant and Developer, Mr. Chris Uziewe said that the company has concluded arrangement to provide affordable housing to low income earners, with the view to bridging the ever widening gap of housing deficit in Nigeria.
Uziewe who made this revelation while interacting with newsmen at the just concluded Abuja Housing Show 2017 also frowned at the land administration in Nigeria.
He also called on government to formulate policies that will reduce interest rate to single digit to encourage serious minded developer to access credit to develop low income housing to majority of Nigerians.
His words, “The major thing hindering provision of affordable housing in Nigeria is the high cost of land acquisition, as well as lack of access to credit. In FCT for instance, before you acquire a reasonable land to develop estate, you would have to spend billions of naira in the process and after that, you still have to rely on commercial banks for credit at over 20 per cent interest rate to develop the land.
“So when you put all these factors into consideration as a developer who is also in business to make profit, it becomes difficult to build affordable housing in Nigeria. Therefore government must initiate a deliberate policy that will reduce the difficulties and high cost of acquiring land in Nigeria, as well as come up with guidelines that will compel commercial banks to lend at a single digit interest rate.
“However, as a company we are currently developing affordable housing in FCT to cater for the housing needs of low income earners in the territory because shelter is a basic necessity of life.”
On his part, the principal partner, Saibu & Company Estate Surveyors & Valuers, Mr. O.J Saibu observed that sourcing building materials locally would bring down the cost of housing and create employments.
He decried the situation where foreign products is dominating Nigerian building material market, arguing that when professional in built environment patronizes of foreign products, they are indirectly exporting jobs that locally fabricated materials would have created for the teeming unemployed Nigerians.
Saibu also appealed to the National Assembly to speed up the legislation that will give the necessary legal backing to the nation’s ‘Housing Code’ so that its enforcement will be practicable.
He noted that the absence of the necessary legal frame work has rendered the Code impotent, arguing that the code without the corresponding law is like a dog without a tooth, which of course can only bark but cannot bite.