The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) has called on candidates in the forthcoming general elections to make the issues of housing and development of the economy their focal points, when elected.
Its President, Mr Kenneth Nduka, in an interview with news men in Lagos, said they should give priority to the development of strategies to improve the housing sector and the economy.
Nduka also urged the candidates to reveal their strategies to improve opportunities for Nigerians to access decent accommodations and boost the country’s investment environment.
According to him, measures to mitigate challenges confronting infrastructure and construction sector, especially housing should be addressed.
He said that infrastructure and housing were key to economic development and the issue should be given priority for enhanced economic growth.
“Most of the candidates are not addressing these issues in their debates and campaigns, and no government has made the issue of housing a focal point.
“People can only think well when they have decent shelter over their heads.
“The rampant cases of social crimes can be traced to lack of access to a decent accommodation, particularly by the young graduates who just left school,” Nduka said.
He listed access to land, titling, weak mortgage market, poor credit facilities as some of the factors needed to be addressed to jump-start growth of the housing sector.
Nduka said the instrument of land, in terms of Certificate of Ownership (C of O), should be relaxed to ensure easy access so that people could use the land they have as collateral for loan.
“Many operators and companies have left the property industry due to the difficulties encountered in the county’s land registration system.
“Efficient land registration system will enhance wealth generation, facilitate more housing developments and create investment opportunities.
“The mortgage market also needs to be looked at as a value chain by restructuring it to be effective.
“There will be no secondary mortgage market without a vibrant primary mortgage market and sustainability of housing developments rely largely on effectiveness of the mortgage system,” Nduka said.
He, however, urged the Federal Government to restructure the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme to encourage easy access to funds so that contributors could build or buy houses using the scheme.