A housing expert, Mr Festus Adebayo has appealed to the Federal Government to show commitment and exercise strong political will in ensuring speedy growth in the housing sector in 2018.
Adebayo, Managing Director of FESADEB Communications Ltd., convener of the annual Abuja International Housing Show, made the appeal on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Abuja.
“For the betterment of the housing sector in 2018, the Federal Government should show strong commitment by exercising the political will to make the housing sector grow.
The expert frowned at the poor performance of the housing sector under the present administration since its inception, adding that the sector has not done well due to lack of political will.
“The performance of the housing sector since the inception of the APC government has not been commendable; the sector has not been doing very well.
“Most of the estate developers in 2017 were not working.
“There was no access for loan from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) because the closure of the Estate Development Loan (EDL) due to malpractices of some estate developers.”
The EDL is a facility granted to private developers, state housing corporations and housing cooperatives to bridge the housing deficit through mass housing.
He noted that in 2017, there was lack of political will and record of high cost of building materials, which affected development in the sector.
According to him, most of the houses constructed in 2017 were beyond the reach of ordinary Nigerian citizens.
“The civil servants up till now cannot have opportunity of having the houses within their reach.
“The issue of Land Use Act is still a barrier, access to land in the country is still a problem, and there have been cases of multiple allocation of land. All these affected the sector in 2017.
He urged the government to look into the barriers facing the FMBN and ensure that necessary support was given to the bank because it was the only bank in Nigeria that could give loan at one digit interest rate.
Adebayo also noted that the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) Scheme, which was established in 2016, should be given the strength and vigour to assist some civil servants to achieve their homes.
He said the problem with FISH programme has to do with lack of political will on the part of the government.
“If the government has the political will in helping civil servants to have access to loan at one digit interest rate, FISH will not be at the level it is presently.
“Most of the developers who want to build for FISH programme are crying that they do not have title that they can use to get loan from the bank.
On this note, Adebayo called on the National Assembly to urgently review the Land Use Act to enable developers have access to land for development.
He listed high cost of land and building approvals, high cost of building materials, as well as payment by the developers to various organs of government in state and federal level make houses not affordable.
“Because by the time you pay for the land, pay building approval, pay for expensive building materials and pay for double interest rate loan then the houses must have gone beyond the level of the people government want to build for.
“We also have at the National Assembly the bill that has to do with the regulation of the Real Estate Practice in Nigeria, and it is necessary the assembly gives it an urgent attention.
“The consumers in the housing sector need to be highly protected,’’ the FESADEB Boss said.
Adebayo, however, called on the government to establish the idea of “Rent to Own’’ scheme for low income earners to key in and own houses after payment of rent for a stipulated time.