Comfort for investors as CBN deepens efforts at growing mortgage market

More than ever before, efforts at driving growth in the fledgling mortgage market in Nigeria is
gaining traction and expectation is that, if there is no drop or relaxation in the tempo of
activities, it won’t be long before the market stats seeing the impact and fruits of those efforts.

The mortgage market in Africa’s largest economy remains in slow growth due to a plethora of reasons some of which are now being addressed in the new efforts which involve major stakeholders in the mortgage industry.

The Nigeria Mortgage Guarantee Company (NMGC), Model Mortgage Foreclosure Bill, and the Uniform Mortgage Underwriting Standards for both the formal and informal sectors of the economy are the
most outstanding of the new initiatives in the industry.

The partnership among the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) and the Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN) is more than enough comfort for both investors and home seekers that it is a new dawn in the market.

To address the problems associated with land processes, the CBN is partnering with NMRC, which spear-headed the drafting of a Model Mortgage Foreclosure Bill, as well as MBAN and other strategic partners, to encourage the passage of a Model Mortgage Foreclosure Law in every state of the nation.
The apex bank has even provided states with the draft MMFL, and has held an MMFL workshop with their key representatives to ease their task to passage of the law.

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The bank says it is encouraged by the recent surge in housing policy adjudication, led by the most housing-friendly states in Nigeria, citing the Lagos High Court which has delivered ground-breaking decisions positively impacting the industry and giving comfort to intending homebuyers as well as investors.
The judiciary had always been castigated for its slow justice delivery, but the decision by the Court of Appeal in the Thomas Wyatt & Ors matter is an arbiter of the increased sensitivity of the judiciary to
mortgage contract relationships, and it is applauded forthat brilliance and clarity.

Standardization in mortgage processes is also being addressed head-on as could be seen in the Uniform underwriting standards for the formal sector, informal sector, and non-interest sector which have already been adopted, and are being used by the larger section of the industry.

NMRC has launched the MMS mortgage platform, which has been endorsed by the CBN and is encouraging all parties to utilize. This platform will standardize documentation, loan processing and underwriting, property valuation, closing and many other areas.

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The current effort is however not unmindful of the cultural biases towards mortgage loans. The CBN in particular believes that cultural aversion to mortgage loans is actually one of the toughest battles in
the housing sector, but has decided to continue to engage with the public in order to destigmatize mortgage finance, using the positive effects on employment,internally generated revenue (IGR) and generational wealth enhancement.

The bank says it is encouraged by the interest shown at state government levels, and so expects to see significant progress in mortgage friendly legislation in future.

A significant challenge in the market is lack of knowledge and awareness regarding mortgage loans. The bank’s National Housing Finance Programme (NHFP) national campaign ‘My Own Home’ has been focused on creating such public awareness, and the states and industry are expected to do their part.

There has been a significant uptick in public curiosity regarding various types of home financing, and the bank assures it will continue to encourage all industry players to invest in advertising, education and incentivization to ensure the continued viability of the housing sector.

CBN believes the entrance of a robust and viable mortgage guarantee product into the housing market is clearly a win for all parties concerned, pointing out however that its existence and/or viability will be directly related to the effort the industry operators invest in ensuring a suitable environment for its development, deployment and administration.

Chuka Uroko

Mortgage finance, Land Use Act resonate as experts chart course for housing sector growth

Developing housing cheaply and delivering same at affordable prices remain thorny issues in Nigeria that seem to have defied quick-win solutions, limiting investment and constraining growth of the sector.

But when experts and sundry stakeholders gathered in Abuja last week, seeking ways of ‘driving growth and sustainability in Nigeria’s housing and mortgage markets’, despite varied views, they had a common focus on mortgage finance and Land Use Act as major barriers to growth.

The experts, who gathered for the 12th edition of the Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS), described as the largest housing and construction sector stakeholder’s platform in Africa, identified Land Use Act of 1978 as the most critical constraint to the growth of the housing sector in Nigeria.

The place of these two factors in the housing sector is quite critical. No housing market can be said to be mature as those of UK and the US without a well developed and functional mortgage system while there can be no functional mortgage system without a good and flexible land administration system.


In Nigeria, both of these are lacking. The growth of the mortgage system in the country has been greatly hampered by very rigid, inflexible and primitive land laws as encapsulated in the Land Use Act.

Passed by a decree in 1978 and inserted into the 1979 national constitution, the provisions of the Act can only be changed through a constitutional amendment, necessitating a two-thirds majority of both the federal and state legislatures. Multiple attempts have been made to influence a revisit of the Act, but the process has been too cumbersome to succeed, causing the intending parties to drop their plans in frustration.

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But developers have to produce houses and mortgage operators have to continue in business. So, “it has become clear that we must create an enabling environment in which a sustainable mortgage market can thrive, and one of the most important drivers of this is a well established land administration process”, said Adedeji Adesemoye, Head, Project Administration Team, Nigeria Housing Finance Programme, and Deputy Director, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department (OFISD) at CBN.

Adesemoye who spoke on ‘Managing Unintended Consequences of the 1978 Land Use Act’ at the AIHS, highlighted efforts, including the setting up the Nigeria Housing Finance Programme (NHFP) and the Model, Mortgage & Foreclosure Law (MMFL), being put in place to grow the housing market.

NHFP is being implemented by the federal government through its relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and this is supported by the World Bank International Development Association (IDA). The objective of the programme, Adesemoye explained, was to increase access to housing finance by deepening primary and secondary mortgage markets.

The MMFL is a draft bill designed to make delinquency in mortgage repayment unattractive to mortgagors and reduce losses from mortgage loans. It is expected to create a more attractive and vibrant environment, thereby attracting investors providing long term, low cost and more available capital to the market.

Its main strategy is to encourage the use of administrative procedures to address some of the most negative provisions of the Act.

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For property investors, this is a good development. But in addition to these efforts, developers also owe it as a duty to themselves to, according to Hakeem Oguniran, the outgoing managing director of UAC Property Development Company (UPDC), be creative in managing the limiting impact of Land Use Act.

He advised that developers should de-emphasize the traditional way of raising development finance, explaining that they should go to the capital market to raise funds by floating bonds which offer much cheaper rates at longer tenor.

To also address the problem of mortgage market growth, the CBN has come up with an initiative known as mortgage guarantee programme which is mortgage given to a borrower by a lender where an identified third party will take responsibility for the loan if the borrower defaults. Expectation here is that this will push up housing affordability because, withthe new programme, once a borrower defaults, the third party receives a claim from the lender, pays the lender off, and assumes responsibility for the mortgage.

“A quality mortgage guarantee programme is used to provide credit loss protection to lenders in case of borrower default”, explained Tokunbo Martins, Director, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department (OFISD) at CBN, who also spoke at the Abuja International Housing Show.

“Mortgage guarantee products incentivize lenders to accept loans with lower down-payments, thus increasing affordability”, she added. The implication of this is that borrowers who, ordinarily, would not have qualified for mortgage loan by reason of their low income, can now obtain loans which enhances their affordability.

From the government angle, Babatunde Fashola, the minister for power, works and housing, was of the opinion that one of the surest ways of making housing affordable and growing the housing sector was by industrializing housing development by laying greater emphasis on locally produced building materials.

Industrializing the sector, in the opinion of the minister who was keynote speaker at the housing show, would not only drag down the cost of construction, material wise, but would also create jobs for those involved in the housing value chain including input manufacturers, professionals and artisans.

But the experts tasked the government on providing infrastructure and coming up with policy frameworks in the financial sector that will make mortgage accessible and affordable through a significant reduction in interest rate.

“The housing market behaves in a particular way; it gravitates where there is effective demand. Government should recognize that the weakest demand comes from the low end market and so should direct regulatory system towards that end with policies to address that problem”, said Femi Adewole, managing director, Shelter Afrique, Kenya.

Adewole added that the government should also adopt the zoning system through which it would discover areas where housing need is highest and the type of housing needed, just as it should impose heavy tax on houses that are unoccupied to discourage further development in that area.

CHUKA UROKO

 

5 Tips On Saving Space in Your Home

Moving into a new home can be quite challenging. Whether you are moving the old sofas and kitchen utensils, or you’re buying everything anew, managing space can be quite demanding. Asides making the home more pleasant, adequate space in the home can promote ventilation and a healthy lifestyle.

Here are a few tips to help on saving space in your home.

GET RID OF UNWANTED/UNUSED ITEMS
As typical Africans, we tend to store up old and used materials around the house. Old newspapers, unwanted CD cases, broken mugs and torn table mats. To create more space around the house, we need to get rid of all these items.

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Do you want to know how to determine what items you need to get rid of? Ask yourself these questions: Can I do without this? Is this useful? Do I use it for the purpose to which it was designed? If you answered No to at least 2 of these questions, it needs to go in the trash! You can even make a few bucks by selling those old newspaper and irons.

GO MINIMAL
Going minimal with your house designs is the new cool. This does not just save space but makes the house quite beautiful. You know what they say; less is more.

DOUBLE DUTY FIXTURES
This is a great way to save space in your home. Beds with drawers, Stairways with bookshelves, bunk beds, draw out/foldable ironing boards. There are several affordable and creative multi-functional furniture available in furniture stores around Nigeria.

One way to get open storage that’s also visually appealing is by using unusual and creative items as storage containers. Things such as baskets mounted on the wall are like functional works of art—and they’re cheap to boot.

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USE ALL THE SPACE AVAILABLE
Floors, ceiling cabinets, ceiling hangers, roof storage, there are just a few of the many ways to use up all the space available. They do not even have to appear clustered. Ceiling hangers are very good for kitchen utensils.

The space under the beds can be used to store shoes and toys. You see houses these days with very high ceilings, and this space is totally unaccounted for! You can have those paintings taking up all the wall space, over at the stairs.

BE CURRENT
Technology has come a long way over the last several years. Keeping current with the latest advances is not only a great way to save space in your home; it’s an effective method for greening up your home. New designs for home appliances, such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, bathroom fixtures and water heaters, use less energy and water and take up less room in your home. To save space, use stack able appliances where possible. We even have energy saving air conditioners available for sale.

These are great ways to not only save space in and around the house but to also make the home even more beautiful while creating a healthier environment.

Niyi Ademoroti

Tips to help you avoid a real estate scam

It is unwise to think you can’t be fooled in a real estate transaction while some sellers and buyers are quite honest, there can be some dishonest sellers, agents or buyers. The reality is that the trait of dishonesty is not written on anybody’s forehead instead many of this scammers are criminally minded folks who are taking advantage of the system. Scams in the real estate industry in Nigeria are real but real estate scams are not just a problem peculiar to Nigeria. It is a global issue and there are ways you can protect yourself from being a victim.

So the real question is: how do you know if you’re about to be scammed in a real estate transaction? The truth is you can’t know if you are about to be scammed but there are warning signs and tips you can take to protect yourself against the activities of scammers. Even if you are working with honest people, these are safe ways to approach buying, renting or selling any home.

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Don’t rush the buying/renting process
It is quite possible to find a great deal and you most probably want to act quickly so you don’t lose the offer to someone else but the problem with rushing the buying or renting process is that you have little time to question the real estate transaction.

Step on the brakes of excitement and objectively analyse the deal if it seems to good to be true then it is advisable to step back from such transactions. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Verify the person you’re working with in the real estate transaction

Do not take whoever you are working with at face value ensure you do your research about that person. This is the digital age, check the person online, ask for referrals from other people and review their past works.

If your gut feeling tells you something is wrong with the person involved in the real estate transaction, then you need to step back do more research about that person. Don’t work with any person you have no confidence in.

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Ask questions

Ensure to ask a lot of questions especially about any unclear issue about the real estate question. Ask the agent the reason for the sale? When there is not a reason for the sale, that can be a red flag. Questions are important because they help reveal inconsistencies in the real estate transactions.

If you spot any inconsistencies that cannot be reconciled then you need to rethink your involvement in the real estate transaction.

Avoid paying cash

If the homeowner or agent is asking you to pay in cash then you should tread carefully of that real estate transaction. The problem with paying in cash is that the money is not traceable unlike paying in a bank instead you insist on writing checks or paying at the bank as this means of payment does not leave you hanging dry if the transaction goes wrong.

You want to be able to hold someone liable when all is not what they seem; so be careful and avoid payments you can’t trace. If the agent or house owner is unyielding about paying in cash, then you need to step back immediately from that transaction.

Email scams

Internet originating scams are not uncommon these days. All the advantages of the digital era have made our life a lot easier, however, they don’t come without harm. When you receive an email that seems suspicious, double check with your agent before taking any actions requested electronically.

Use a reliable source in your search for properties
Online property listing sources is a reputable platform to use in finding properties in Nigeria. It is advisable to make use of well know property agency so as not to be duped of one’s hard earned money.

Never skip inspection

A major red flag for any real estate transaction is when the homeowner or agent is trying to discourage you from inspecting the house. If there is nothing suspicious to hide then inspection is not negotiable. Insist on inspection and if not granted by the homeowner or agent then it is advisable to terminate the real estate transaction immediately.

Damilola Dimeji-Ajayi

7 Things You Need to Know Before Investing in Real Estate

I often hear people say they want to invest in real estate, but many do not know what to do or how exactly to go about the processes. It takes more than having interest, or a wild dream to own a property. Being informed plays a vital role in ensuring one makes the best business decision.

Although there are different categories of properties (flat buildings, duplex, land etc), having a basic knowledge of what real estate investment entails can help one navigate through the processes.

1. Learn how to spot a great location
For a smart choice of location, one must be able to tell areas with the high potential of developing over the next few years. It is important to do your homework, this will not only help you in making informed decisions but the yield – financial and social – will also be invaluable. Is the town becoming dense and overpriced? Then it is time to pay attention to the outskirts. Over the last few years, parts of Ogun state close to Lagos have recorded a high level of immigration, an increase in infrastructures, and more construction of residential buildings and companies.

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This post on how to spot an up and coming areas will help you gain insight on how to make good judgement concerning real estate. You don’t want to be left out. Likewise, in learning about the future of a location and its prospects, it is also important to consider the history of the house, land or area. Is it usually flooded during the raining season? Is the area prone to social, political or religious riots? Do your research.

2. Pricing
Study the prices of properties in the neighbourhood and their trends. You should also compare them with the price listings in other areas. This will give you an idea of what is mostly on demand, their price range and the monetary value you place on your property. Pricing demands that one does thorough research, this enables you to have a better understanding of the concepts of the business. You will get to know about the locations that best suit your needs.

3. Renovations are not directly proportional to monetary returns
Polishing up a building may not necessarily increase the value. The knowledge of this will save you from unnecessary heartache. In a bid to create good impressions and increase the chances of selling the property, some renovations may need to be made. However, buyers have different tastes and no amount of renovation will make a person buy what they really do not want. But it is necessary to make effort. Keep the property clean, get rid of odours etc. Yes, upgrading the building will make it more appealing to buyers, but it may add only a little or nothing to your wallet. You will not always get back every amount spent on renovations. It does not mean you will be at a loss either. The basic things are to maintain a balance between the two.

4. Negotiate
Ability to negotiate is one of the skills that differentiate successful business owners from mediocre. Yes, we know you have the money and can’t wait to become a land or house owner. But perhaps that property can be purchased at a lower rate? This also works the other way round. In selling, you should not be in haste to let go of a property. You may get better deals that it deserves. It’s also okay to listen to potential buyers, you may not always get to sell the property at the price you wish. And that’s okay.

5. Real Estate is real business

There is the temptation to be lax about property investment as it is not a ‘day job.’ But the level of commitment should be as much. Get information, be diligent in asking questions and finding answers. You’d be surprised at how much many people who want to invest in real estate don’t know, not even the basics! You really don’t want your money to go to waste. There are real estate terms you may also need to familiarise yourself with, this may help you in dealing with agents and buyers.

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6. Put your money where your mouth is
If you cannot confidently talk about a property you intend to sell to someone, something might be wrong. Integrity is essential in everything, real estate business included. If something is not right with the building or land, if you are going to have issues speaking about it when it’s time to sell, maybe you should not buy it in the first place. Real estate business thrives when there is good marketing, that is one of the concepts one must not take for granted.

7. Put it in writing, always

This is basic! Whatever you do, ensure you have documents as a proof. Real estate is a serious business. Although legitimate, many are in it to take advantage of unsuspecting persons. In choosing a real estate agent, there are companies that can assist you to do that. There should also be legal documents at every point to bind your agreements with other people.

Kemi Falodun

Nigeria: 17 Million Deficit – Adopt Ethiopia’s Mass Housing Model, Dangote Tells Govt

The chairman/chief executive officer of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has called on federal government to adopt Ethiopia’s mass housing model in a bid to address the over 17 million housing deficit in the country.

Dangote also said he supported the proposed restructuring and N500bn recapitalisation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) for effective service delivery. He stated this when he visited the bank’s headquarters in Abuja alongside the chairman/ chief executive officer of BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsamad Isyaku Rabiu on ways to boost affordable social housing delivery for Nigerians.

The Africa’s richest man commended FMBN for the renewed aggressive drive to provide affordable housing for Nigerians. Dangote assured that his company is ready to collaborate with FMBN towards reducing the housing deficit by increasing the tempo and scale of social housing provision across the country.

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According to him, “Count me as a friend of FMBN because we are open to collaboration and willing to support the good works that your bank is doing towards ensuring the provision of affordable housing to medium and low income earners in Nigeria”.

Also speaking, chairman, BUA Group of companies, Alhaji Abdul Samad Isyaku Rabiu stated that he is committed to a close partnership with FMBN.

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Responding, the FMBN board chairman, Dr. Adewale Adeeyo lauded the support and partnership of the companies towards the development of the sector.

Chika Okeke

Restructuring the housing sector

A new initiative by the Central Bank of Nigeria to strengthen mortgage financing in the country highlights the crisis in the country’s housing sector. Though short on details, the bank said it was collaborating with the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Corporation specifically to address challenges in delivering affordable housing in the country. Bridging the huge housing deficit requires a new multi-faceted approach by the three tiers of government.

The Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability of CBN, Aisha Ahmad, says the collaboration with NMRC targets effective mobilisation of credit for housing. Efforts to remove the constraints in the provision of cheaper homes would also be crystalised alongside the expected passage into law of the Model Mortgage and Foreclosure Bill. This seeks, among others, the dismantling of some of the administrative and legal constraints in achieving the goal of housing for all Nigerians, a target set by the government four decades ago but missed. Instead, the gap has widened.

From only a few million units short in the 1970s, the World Bank puts the current deficit at 17 million housing units. In contrast, faced with similar housing shortage in the wake of rapid urbanisation, South Africa delivered over three million housing units between 1994 and 2017 to fill the gap, establishing itself as a country with one of the world’s most ambitious housing programmes. Egypt, Africa’s third largest economy after Nigeria and South Africa, identified a national emergency situation when, by 2011, it had a deficit of 1.5 million housing units!

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According to Ahmad, Nigeria currently has a stock of only 13 million housing units for a population variously put at between 180 million and 193 million, while eventual demand is estimated at between 38 million and 44 million units.

Housing is critical in every economy and usually assumes crisis dimension in emerging economies where rapid urbanisation often outstrips the capacity of cities to provide new housing, according to economists. Shelter is a basic necessity after food and clothing. A report in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper said inadequate housing posed both security and development threats to the society. The United Nations Development Programme says housing is central to human development and impacts on health and productivity. Provision of housing or lack of it has also been linked to poverty and is adopted by the United Nations as a poverty-reduction strategy.

With poverty rate variously put at over 61 per cent by the National Bureau of Statistics and 80 per cent by the African Development Bank, Nigeria’s housing deficit is not surprising. Think of Lagos, where 86 persons are said to relocate to every hour and swelling its 23 million-strong population. Other cities like Abuja, Onitsha, Port Harcourt and Kano are feeling the pressure for new housing. State provision of housing is patchy and lending rules are prohibitive.

Confronted with urbanisation, responsive governments adopt multi-pronged approach. In South Africa, all of the central, provincial and city governments are involved. Government’s assistance targets low-income earners. Durban, a major city in South Africa, provided 174,000 new units between 1996 and 2014.

The United Kingdom provides a template to be emulated. There, private investment provides housing, while local councils supply the bulk of low-income housing with the central government’s support. Housing associations are also formed as non-profit organisations to provide housing for low-income earners and the needy. Like the UK, India has also been promoting strong mortgage financing through reforms sector to house its 1.2 billion people.

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Apart from sheer incompetence, successive Nigerian governments miss their targets through wrong strategies and lack of the needed political will and strong regulation to see through good ones. A repeated blunder is the forlorn attempt by the Federal Government to build houses directly. Without unlimited funds and by the sheer magnitude of the logistics, this is ridiculous. A current plan to build 2,736 units across 33 states is typical: how can this redress the 17 million deficit? It is the states and the local governments that are better placed to do this. The United States city and county councils are constantly partnering private developers to provide affordable housing through regulations, policies and subsidies.

The Federal Government should strengthen its partnership with the states and LGs, who in turn should enter into corruption-free arrangements with the private sector and non-profits. Land acquisition and building approval processes should be streamlined and home ownership made easier for the low- and middle-income segments through less red tape, low licensing fees and low-interest credit. State governors should stop building houses for civil servants alone: they are elected to serve all, not a few.

The government should muster the political will to implement the National Housing Policy and make the National Housing Fund and NMRC effective. Non-enforcement crippled the mandatory subscription of 2.5 per cent of every worker’s pay to the NHF specified by law. The system has also been assailed by the prevalent culture of corruption and nepotism, translating to low repayment of the low-interest credit provided by the Fund through primary mortgage institutions. Solving the problem will require a thorough reform of the mortgage finance sector that currently contributes less than one per cent to Gross Domestic Product, unlike OECD countries where it averages over 50 per cent.

But the daunting task is how to tackle the macroeconomic environment side where interest rates to the productive sectors average 22-28 per cent and lending rates to the real estate sector range between 28 and 36 per cent. Statutory requirements that banks and insurance firms reserve a percentage of their credit and investment respectively for real estate are ignored.

Construction is a major job creator and housing provision alleviates poverty: with this in mind, the three tiers of government should rouse themselves today to reform the housing sector.

Punch Editorial

Building guild warns on decline in construction craftsmen competency

In a renewed effort to reduce the spate of unsatisfactory works in building production across the country, members of Building Collapse Prevention Guild Ikorodu Cell have asked stakeholders in the construction industry to promote the use of competent craftsmen.

They appealed to the Nigerian Board for Technical Education to sustain the newly introduced National Skills Qualifications Framework is aimed at assessing and upgrading the competency of construction artisans and craftsmen.

The group made the call at a seminar organised by the built environment professionals (BCPG members) in Ikorodu area of Lagos State. The seminar, titled; “Profiling Craftsmen Competency in the Nigerian Construction Industry” was organised to coincide with the first anniversary of the demise of the pioneer Coordinator of BCPG Ikorodu Cell, Mr. Kayode Beckley, who was a professional builder.

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Speaking at the event, the guest speaker, Mr. Salisu Harfiz of the Department of Building Technology, Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu lamented the Nigerian academic system has failed to pay adequate attention to handicraft training, leading to half-baked craftsmen that have been creating competency challenges on construction sites.

Mr. Harfiz, who is the Second Vice- President of the Nigerian Association of Engineering Craftsmen (NAEC) advocated for an increase in the provision of current technological training and newly manufactured tools and equipment in technical colleges and construction- skills- acquisition centres across the country.

He recognised the recent efforts of both Lagos and Federal governments at uplifting the system of apprenticeship.

The Coordinator of BCPG Ikorodu cell, Mr. Olusola Amusan, an architect, enjoined clients and those who would want to engage
the services of craftsmen in the informal sector to insist on seeing and verifying the certificates of the craftsmen before giving them job.

The Vice Chairman, Lagos State Chapter of BCPG, Col. Olajide Olayinka (rtd), an estate surveyor and valuer, encouraged parents to see future value in vocational education rather than pursuing mere academic programme that would lead their children to idleness from unemployment.

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The treasurer of BCPG Lagos State Chapter, Mrs. Olukemi Okusaga, who, is a quantity surveyor counseled on the extra cost that could be incurred in future corrections on the substandard construction works carried out by incompetent craftsmen that might have charged low on workmanship.

The BCPG President, Mr. George Akinola, a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Architects promised that BCPG would upload on its website the data of competent craftsmen for the benefit of developers. He pleaded with construction companies to embark on social responsibility by allowing craftsmen undergo practical training to learn on their sites.

Ijeoma Thomas-Odia

 

 

Stakeholders urge housing regulation, masterplan

Fresh impetus was added recently to the drive to enhance sustainability in Nigeria’s housing and mortgage markets, with stakeholders agitating for housing masterplan for each city in the country.

They also called for real estate infrastructure policy that would ensure greater impact in homeownership, especially on site and services schemes. They believe such deliberate policy will reduce the cost of homes and instill investors’ confidence as well as ensure effective housing delivery.

The stakeholders, comprising chief executive officers of the real estate companies, institutions, development agencies and government agencies and regulatory bodies, also harped on the need to utilize regulatory measures to closeup the increasing property vacancy rate in cities.

They met at the 12th Abuja International Housing Show(AIHS), where the Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Mrs Freda Prempeh, urged African countries to boost housing development by exploring local resources to achieve local content.

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Prempeh said Africa was endowed with natural resources like timber, clay, mine stones, among others, but were not being harnessed for housing development.

She bemoaned the housing deficit facing the continent, adding that Ghana recorded many housing intervention programmes to reduce housing deficit and achieve Sustainable Development Goal nine and 11.

While calling on African governments to ensure collaboration with private sectors to acquire landmark and provide infrastructure needed for effective housing development, she added, “the housing industry is capital intensive, so we have to be innovative by using different technologies.”

Specifically, the Acting Managing Director, Shelter Afrique, Mr. Femi Adewole said that regulations must increasingly play a role in addressing the issue of data. “The market plays a natural role, it must surely gravitate to segments where the returns are higher. Occasionally, you must constrain market players and resources on the direction you want it to go as as a social policy.

“Government should designate some areas where you can only build housing, within a certain price range and approvals will be given to developers that fulfill the criteria. “I mean zoning useful land and regulating its use for either for a low income or medium income housing scheme.

“Secondly, regulating occupancy and use. There is something wrong with having huge chunk of vacant occupancy rate where people are searching for houses. Impose property tax on the houses and lets people fill the pinch. All has a goal of diverting market activities where you want it to be,” Adewole said.

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Collaborating his view, Prof. Timothy Nubi, the founder and Director, University of Lagos Centre for Housing Studies, stressed the need for control in the housing sector. He recommended for a housing masterplan with a life span of 20 years.

“We’re making attempts to get housing data, investors don’t need data, we can only use it to prepare a master plan. We must ensure that each city has a housing masterplan,”he said.

The outgoing Managing Director, UPDC, Mr. Hakeem Ogunniran argued that what the industry needed was long-term funding and government’s deliberate infrastructure policy on site and services scheme. He also called for an enabling environment by government for property development.

National President, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) and board member of AIHS, Ugochukwu Chime urged government to see housing provision as its primary responsibility by making policy framework and creating enabling environment for real estate business to thrive.

He said: “The 1999 Nigerian Constitution, Section 16, under the Fundamental Objectives of State Policy, compels the Nigeria State to provide suitable shelter for all citizens. The need to have access to decent housing at affordable disposal prices ought to the birth right of every Nigerian.”

Chime called for a vibrant policy that will accommodate the interests of the financiers/investors, which was not accommodated in the existing laws, policies and processes to unlock the capacity in the real estate industry.

The President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Kashim Ali said that the housing and mortgage sub sector needs intervention in all aspects to ensure that it functions effectively. “While it is very important to ensure that government enact a policy that create efficient housing markets, it is also necessary to have effective housing finance considering it’s importance in the operation in the housing markets.

Chinedum Uwaegbulam

Constrix crowned fastest growing real estate firm

Constrix Real Estate Development Limited has been recognized as the fastest growing real estate company of the year in Nigeria.

The Managing Director of Constrix, Nura Dan Musa, received the award at the Nigeria Housing Awards 2018 held in Abuja.

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Nura said Constrix, which is a real estate services firm based in Abuja, plans in the short term to expand to every nook and corner of the country.

He said the company is already in talks with the Akwa Ibom State government to flag off a large scale affordable housing scheme.

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“A lot of northern developers do not go south so also southern developers do not go deep north. But we are trying to break that barrier to see how we can unite the country through our affordable housing” he said adding, “We will be the first northern developers doing such massive project in the South South,” Nura said.

Speaking on the challenges of housing delivery in the country he said, “We as business men thrive on providing solutions to challenges, be it economical or policy challenges by creating a suitable model to fit in the days realities and purchasing powers of our target markets and making sure we deliver top of the range houses at an affordable rate”

Daniel Adugbo

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