Brig-General Tunde Reis rtd was a special guest at the just concluded 13th Abuja International Housing Show.
While speaking with Housing News, the retired officer who started Nigerian Army’s first housing cooperatives said that the 13th Abuja International Housing Show was phenomenal.
‘’I recall when the show started 13 years ago. It was quite small. It started with a really humble beginning. I am impressed to see the scale and the quality that it has come to be today. Of course there is room for improvement, but what we have seen today is phenomenal. It is quite clearly moving towards becoming the largest housing show that it portends to be in Africa,’’ he said.
On solving the housing problems in Nigeria, Reis told Housing news that Nigerians can be optimistic about the prospects ahead.
‘’Housing problems in Nigeria might appear to be enormous and challenging, but challenges are meant to be engaged and gradually overcome. We need to find solution to whatever challenges we have in the housing industry. Nobody else is coming to do it for us.
‘’And to summarise the single most important impediment to affordable housing delivery in my little experience in the industry, I think it is the challenge of affordability. If you can take care of the affordability gap which is the gap between what the end users can afford to pay towards their housing and the cost of the housing, then you can unlock a lot of things.
‘’People say it is absence of mortgages. But even if you have all the money in the world available for mortgages, most Nigerians will not qualify for those mortgages.
‘’So we need to find policies that can address and mitigate the affordability gap that will unlock in fact mass housing because once there is demand, people will find faster and better ways of delivering houses,’’ he advised.
Tunde Reis is currently the founder and CEO of First World Communities – a housing development company focused on large scale development for affordable housing mainly based in Lagos.
By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja