The managing director/chief executive officer of Wiser Estates & Investment Limited, Mr Nasiru Suleiman has linked the escalating housing deficit to unfavourable government polices and absence of long-term finance.
Nigeria has about 17 to 20 million housing shortfall which would cost government about N6 trillion to bridge the gap. In a chat with LEADERSHIP in Abuja, he pointed out that one of the major problems encountered by developers in Abuja is land acquisition.
He said though there are abundant lands in the Federal Capital Territory that such lands are not sold to genuine developers, noting that the lands are used to satisfy the political needs of friends and family members that are not engaged in real estate development.
According to him, “What this means is that the lands are allocated to friends and family of political associates at government price which is virtually free, but the actual developers engaged in the provision of affordable housing to the public has to liaise with the friends or family of political associates, either to go into partnership or buy the land from them at current open market rate”.
Using Abuja as a case point, Suleiman hinted that a 10 hectares of land, including the necessary fee might cost N1 million at government approved price, noting that if a developer requests to buy such land from the middlemen, that they would value it at open market rate which ranges from N2 billion to N5 billion depending on the location.
He lamented that if any developer indicated interest to partner with middllemen that it would be impossible to build affordable housing for low income earners. T
he MD however pleaded with federal government to mitigate the challenge and hasten up in bridging the housing deficit by identifying genuine developers and creating a database for them.
To achieve this, he pointed out that government should visit construction site and access ongoing projects in order to find out the developers handling the projects. Suleiman was optimistic that identifying genuine developers and providing subsidy on lands would enable realtors roll out more affording housing for Nigerians.