The ability of businesses, organizations, sectors and subsectors in any economy to make effective decisions is not only crucial to the survival of such economy, it has great bearing on how resources are sourced and channelled towards growth and sustainable development.
In order to evaluate alternatives and make informed choices, there is the need for reliable and timely data upon which to make decisions. Data is no longer restricted to just technological companies. The indispensable nature of data cuts across diverse businesses including insurance agencies, product management companies, real estate companies, amongst others using data to improve their marketing strategies, customer experience, and to understand and predict business trends or just collect insights on user data.
Curious about how data can be effectively harnessed in shaping trends and birthing innovations in the housing sector, Mr Taofeeq Olatinwo, the Head, Business Operations & ICT, with the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company has said although data gathering can sometimes be a cumbersome process, involving educational institutions would make the process of aggregating relevant data for the housing sector much easier.
He said “Bringing in educational institutions will really help. For example, the Universities. And what I believe the Universities will be able to do in this respect will be to have a yearly kind of research that will contribute to data collection. We’ve got more than 50 universities. “Let’s imagine them doing research every year on housing and people are going out to various locations to gather data and they are supplying the data to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) we are working on, that will be very fantastic.”
Olatinwo was speaking as a panellist during an enlightening webinar recently hosted by the Housing Development Advocacy Network (HDAN) with focus on “What has Data got to do with the Housing sector in Nigeria”.
He stated that data is the “new oil” of the housing sector which provides insight into the opportunities and grey areas that exist within the housing market value chain.
“Data is the new oil for the housing sector. Crude oil will dry up but data will keep growing and it will be what we can use for strategic decision making for us to be able to provide housing.” he said.
According to him there exists a lot of untapped potentials in the housing sector owning to the inability of the industry players to properly generate, aggregate and harness the data available in the sector, adding that the NMRC is working on increasing the aggregation and flow of data with the housing value chain.
“When we started full operations in 2015, we realized that one of the major challenges would be the issue of understanding the market itself. We said the key people will be the people making demand. We started looking at the demand and supply of housing in order to stimulate the market and we realized very quickly that we would have to go back to the basics to gather data, so that we won’t be working based on the rule-of-thumb or off-the-cut kind of decision making, to a more strategic, data-driven decision making.” he said.
Olatinwo further explained that when necessary data is made available for decision making in the sector, it would be easier to direct the various interventions towards the segment of the sector that is in dire need of such intervention.
“There are so many dimensions to having homes for our people. Shelter which is the basic need of life and there is job creation which gives them some means of livelihood. The data we are collating now will also help us in terms of knowing the exact areas where we should put intervention for our people. Look at what is happening with COVID-19, with clear data from housing, we will be able to tell exactly where the point of intervention should go for our people.”
He however stated that all of this cannot be achieved without a strong governance structure that will foster collaboration between the public and private sector.
“The way forward is to come up with a strong governance structure and perhaps a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that will include both the public and private sector. Once we have this kind of structure, to be able to respond to issues like COVID-19 becomes a lot easier because at that point, we will now be able to identify the areas that need intervention” the expert said.
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