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Friday, December 8, 2023

Experts seek private sector partnerships to bridge Nigeria’s shelter gap

Some real estate stakeholders have called on all tiers of government to collaborate with the private sector and increase housing investments.

L-R: Mr David Ogundare, Executive Secretary, Finance, Legrande Properties Development Company Ltd; Mrs Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie, Chairperson, Property and Environment Writers Association of Nigeria (PEWAN); Deacon Jide Durojaiye, Managing Director, Legrande Properties Development Company Ltd; Bukola Adeniji, the Human Resources Manager; Nollywood veteran actor and the firm’s brand ambassador, Segun Arinze; and Blessed Amiolemen, Company Secretary, during a media interactive session organised by PEWAN on Thursday in Ikeja, Lagos

They said this would help to bridge rising shelter gap and also boost Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product.

The experts made the call on Thursday, August 3, 2023 in Ikeja at a Media Interactive Session organised by the Property and Environment Writers Association of Nigeria (PEWAN).

The interaction was with the management and staff of Legrande Properties Development Company Ltd, developers of Alexandra Courts Estate, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos.

Deacon Jide Durojaiye, the firm’s Managing Director, said Nigeria had an estimated housing deficit of 28 million, indicating the need for same number of units to cater for the population.

Durojaiye raised an alarm on a rising trend in Lagos State where low and middle income earners were relocating to boundary states because of high cost of rent, land and construction.

The realtor said if the trend was left unchecked, only the rich would be be able to build and rent houses in Lagos by 2030, to exclude both the poor and middle class.

“If this collaboration is not made now, you find out that, by 2027, rent may sky rocket to N7 million.

“The low income group should not be allowed to be pushed out of Lagos,” he said.

He said the same trend was cropping up in other cities, hence the need for governments to collaborate with the private sector to provide affordable units.

He also stressed the need for governments to quickly intervene in the rising cost of building materials in the country as well as address other factors affecting affordable housing delivery.

The Managing Director said the firm was in partnership with both Federal and Lagos State governments.

He cited various completed and ongoing projects and how low and middle income earners contributing to the National Housing Fund (NHF) could benefit.

He said the firm had a target of providing 5,000 affordable housing units in five years but appealed to people who had already benefited from the NHF to repay the loans.

Durojaiye urged  the media to sensitise the public that NHF loans were not national cake, hence the need to repay to create opportunity for more beneficiaries.

He said production cost affected rates and urged governments to address numerous challenges in the interest of the masses who constitute 70 per cent  of Nigeria’s population.

He also expressed  concern on the issue of substandard building materials and problem of land grabbers.

The realtor also spoke on titles and how the public could escape being duped.

“Those building should ensure they have building approval in the name of the title. The approval must carry the same name as that of the C-of-O,” he said.

He also said government needs to work on the Land Use Act, curb the activities of land grabbers, and work on financial sector on access to loan facilities, among other challenges.

Shedding some light on the housing deficit, Mr Blessed Amiolemen, the Company Secretary, disclosed that an estimated sum of N21 trillion is required to provide housing units to fill the 28 million deficit.

“This means the reals estate sector needs an investment of over N21 trillion to build sufficient housing for the entire population“, he said, adding however that, by the annual average rate of N7.47 trillion credit to the real estate sector, it will take an estimated three years to provide 28 million housing units for the population.

“This is on the premise that the population remains unchanged over this period.

“But that cannot be the case as the population keeps increasing, creating more gaps in housing,” he added.

Segun Arinze, Nollywood veteran actor, who is the brand ambassador of Legrande Properties Development Company Ltd, reeled out visions and achievements of the firm in the real estate sector.

“Over the last 12 years, we have successfully completed over 11 estates, with proper facility and estate management, with over 500 home owners. We currently have two ongoing projects,” he said.

He listed facilities in their estates, adding that the company had been appointed by the Lagos State Government through New Towns Development Authority to provide/construct infrastructure facilities in the Ibeju Coastal City Scheme.

Some other experts also identified problems, spoke on need for social housing and what all tiers of government must do to bridge shelter gap across Nigeria, to boost its GDP.

Earlier, Mrs Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie, Chairperson, Property and Environment Writers Association of Nigeria (PEWAN), in her welcome address explained agenda setting role of the media towards growth of the built environment sector and national development.

“Our Job is more of advocacy between the business community, government and her agencies to make for a favourable business environment that will make for economic prosperity of the nation as a whole.

“Our job today is to listen, to ask questions and let the government hear how their policies are affecting you positively or otherwise,” she said.

Speaking on Alexandra Courts Estate under construction in Ibeju Lekki, Durojaiye said that the estate is 5,000-unit mixed development of two- and three-bedroom flats as well as semi- and fully-detached duplexes “designed to provide utmost comfort to end users“.

“Alexandra Courts Coastal City is a Public Private Partnership with the Lagos State Government and Federal Mortgage Bank (FMBN). Loans are available to offtakers who are contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme up to N15 million,“ he said.

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