With the conclusion of the presidential election, which saw the incumbent emerged winners, experts in the sector have urged the Buhari administration to come up with more robust policies, programmes that will revive the sector and reposition it as the second largest employer of labour behind agriculture.
To these experts, housing is a sector, which seriously deserved appropriate intervention from government.
According to them, international standards have set the maximum amount that can be dedicated from a workers’ salary, which should not exceed 30 per cent of the gross pay.
Regrettably, rents for descent accommodation in most urban areas in Nigeria exceed this benchmark.
The immediate past president, Nigeria Institute of Architect, Tonye Braide, said housing is a starting point in ameliorating the high living standards in urban centres.
He stressed that when rents are excessively high, alternative sources of earnings are normally sought, which leads to corruption.
Braide, however, believed that government would take pragmatic steps in its second term to make housing affordable and available.
According to him, simple economics states that where the supply rises and demand remain fixed the price should fall.”
There are critical factors responsible for the high cost of housing. The first is land cost. The cost of land in most urban centres are artificial. Speculation and greed are factors, which drive the prices.
“The actual cost of procurement of government acquired land is relatively low and affordable but speculation and greed push prices to figures up to 500 per cent.”
The result is that in building an affordable house, the actual construction costs are almost at par with the cost of land. This should not be. Land should be no more than about 15 to 20 per cent of the cost of the final development costs.
“People buy land at highly inflated rates because so many are pursuing so few plots with appropriate infrastructure”, he said.
Braide therefore urged government to embark on a massive public works programme, which should include development of site, and services housing projects to give access to cheap land complete with infrastructure.
Communities, he said, can receive schools, primary health care centres or percentage of housing development thereon in lieu of direct cash compensation.
To create employment, the renowned architect said there should be one SME factory making one building component or the other within 100 kilometers of every local council headquarters.
This, he said, will also bring down construction costs because “over 25 per cent of construction costs go to the logistics of transportation of the materials, while a reasonable reduction of cases of double taxation on building materials can be achieved”.
Also, the Chairman, Estate Surveying and Valuation Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON), Sir Nweke Umezuruike, said the government should sincerely assess itself whether it has done well to continue the policies or if there is need to readjust in their policies for the next four years.
Describing housing as one of the very disturbing areas that should be tackled frontally, he said construction industry along side agriculture are two key areas all over the world that normally creates massive employment.
Unfortunately this aspect of these areas, Umezuruike said is not being tackled.
He also regretted that over a decade, Nigeria has established itself, as a trading nation even though, there is no country all over the world that has made progress being a trading nation.He urged the government to change that attitude by leading Nigeria into more productive activities in the two areas of agriculture and construction industry.
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