Wrong housing policies have been stalling the nation’s development, the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) President, Rowland Abonta, has said.
Abonta, who spoke at the inaugural meeting of the 2019/2020 National Council of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) in Abuja, said housing should be incorporated into the development policy of the nation.
He said: “Nigeria would become a better nation the moment stakeholders stopped playing politics with housing issues. I will honestly call on the government and policy makers to be honest with housing. It is a human requirement ranked as number two among human needs. The day we stop playing politics with it, it will be a better nation.”
According to Abonta, those brought up in squalors and indecent environment are upset with nature.
“They are very reactive and aggressive to the public. If a census of convicted criminals is taken, one will almost be sure that they are usually from a poor background. It is, therefore, safe to say that Nigeria is breeding criminals with her national and anti- people housing policy, he added.
According to Abonta, the biggest challenge in the sector is poor planning.
To plan for housing, the government should undertake a survey to determine what people need.
He added that adequate planning would bring other problems into perspective.
He said the more than 17 million housing deficit might not be correct as the figure was not backed by data.
On social housing, Abonta said it would be difficult for low income earners to own houses without housing finance.
Abonta said a responsible government would insist that investors in the sector dedicate a percentage of their earnings to low income people.
He advised the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) against building big houses. ‘’I am yet to know when they will do the kind of thing they did in Lugbe called National Housing Programme, ‘’ he added.
In another development, the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) Nigeria President, Mr. Adeniji Adele, said policy inconsistencies, delay in legal process, affordability and cumbersome title registration process, poor state of infrastructure, social amenities and inadequate access to finance were responsible for the little progress recorded in the sector. Commending the government for introducing reforms through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) as evidenced by World Bank’s 2018 Ease of Doing Business Index where Nigeria ranked 145th out of 190 countries.
He said there was need for effective collaborations among players in the private and public sectors to create an enabling path of growth for the sector and the nation’s economy.
He encouraged his colleagues to practise the core elements of property business with integrity – property rights, access to credit, effective governance, rational dispute, financial transparency and appropriate regulation.
By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie