Housing Deficit: FG Urged to Partner PFAs

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Kemi Olaitan

In order to bridge the housing deficits in the country currently estimated to be in the region of 22 million units, experts in the real estate industry have called on the government and players in the sector to consider working with pension funds administrators (PFAs) to fund the sector.

The experts also bemoaned situation where many employees who contribute to pension funds live in deplorable conditions.
The submissions were part of the recommendations made at the fourth edition of the Real Estate Outlook Conference, held in Lagos.

The conference organised by Alphacrux Limited, a real estate company, with the theme: ‘Repositioning Nigeria’s Real Estate Industry for a New Decade’, brought together stakeholders who dwelt extensively on ways to make homes affordable to Nigerians and how government policies could help make this a reality.

They also harped on the need for effective planning strategies, data analytics and research, technology and need for more collaboration among players to unlock the opportunities in the sector.

The CEO, Alphacrux Limited, Tobi Adama, while speaking at the event, said infrastructure upgrade could address housing deficit in Nigeria.
He said: “If we can look at the area of infrastructure critically in partnership with the government, this challenge can be solved.

“The reason why people want to live on the Island is because of proximity to work. If you are not working on the island, you won’t want to be on the island.
“We need to look at the use of waterways, helicopters and trains as means of transportation to various destinations. So if you will marry all these different approaches together, then I think we will get somewhere,” Adama said.
He stressed that with Lagos State being over populated, there were still spaces to develop more properties in other states but because it is a commercial hub, one finds this peculiar problem with the state.

He suggested that with the rise of private properties especially at the Lekki corridors, infrastructure upgrade should be taken into consideration.
“If it takes me 30 minutes on a bus from Epe to Victoria Island and I find a property in Epe is cheaper, a lot of people will move to the outskirt. I think that as we are tackling the housing deficit, we should also be tackling infrastructure deficit,” he said.

Also, the Chief Operating Officer, Northcourt Real Estate, Ayo Ibanu, said Nigeria was underestimating the size and complexity of housing deficit problem as a country, adding that the government needs to establish a framework under which affordable housing components could play.

“You can say affordable housing as many times as you want but if there isn’t a place where the developers, investors and end users can plug in, it will just be a pipe dream.
“By framework, I mean what are the conditions the government is willing to create to ensure a win-win solution for everyone?
“This idea of developers, financiers, investors, professionals coming together to invest their time and money in a third world economy without any form of return is something we should forget very quickly,” Ibaru said.

He suggested that government needs to have strong framework, get the legal process, take it through the senate and get it signed after which the government can now start funding and allocating land.

“While we are trying to sort out the land use act, let us look for other alternatives. If we don’t have a house that has funding opportunities and is less than N5million, I am not sure we have started dealing with the affordability issue,” he said.

Ibaru, also suggested implementation of social housing, where the government can decide to take large lands usually in areas that are far from the city and build 1,000 to 5,000 units, adding that Nigeria cannot solve 17 million housing deficits with 100 or 300 units.