Real Estate Firm, Porch Advocates Efficient Housing Solutions

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Seun Olorunshola

The Managing Director of Porch Integrated Services, Mr. Seun Olorunshola tells Fadekemi Ajakaiye that Nigeria needs efficient housing solution to speed up home delivery

How important is housing to socio-economic development?

Housing is one of the most essentials of life and the provision of homes is an important ingredient in preserving the basic needs of human life. The necessity for housing is far too important to be handled with levity and that is why housing is on the concurrent list of the federal government. Provision of affordable and decent housing for Nigerians has been a top priority for successive governments since the nation’s independence in 1960. Regrettably, for more than five decades, Nigeria is yet to develop an effective and a workable housing delivery programme that would enable the country achieve its housing for all policy. Since independence, some administrations initiated massive housing programmes, but most of the housing schemes remained largely uncompleted, inhabitable and eventually became a total waste of tax payer’s money. However, one of the most ambitious housing policies in the country was introduced by the then Shehu Shagari administration in 1979. Nonetheless, it failed to meet the nation’s housing requirement.

What can ease housing delivery in the country?

A number of factors need to be given careful consideration to ease housing problems in Nigeria. There should be ease of cumbersome registration process. The process of getting plan approval, issuance of certificate of occupancy and proper documentation should be made less cumbersome and faster. The cumbersome processes of property registration are major barriers to housing development and home-ownership, thereby leading to the country’s huge housing deficit. The revision of the cumbersome nature of property registration, acquiring land title documents and transfer, will bring about the needed improvement and growth to both the housing and mortgage industry in the country. This is exactly what the Oyo State government and a few others have adopted, by giving discount for getting certificate of occupancy for both lands and buildings.

What do you think about public housing programmes?

Government should embark on public housing programmes as a form of social responsibility, considering that the financial arrangement with mortgage institutions is definitely beyond reach of low income earners in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, the low income earners that can access mortgage facilities are the civil servants. Now, the question becomes what percentage of the civil servants in the whole of the over 200 million citizenry? In order to bridge this gap, the government’s property development agencies should go into partnership with private investors and stakeholders.

Tell us about private sector participation

The private sector should be encouraged in housing developments with incentives, loans, subsidies and land should be readily available and accessible to potential builders. Unfortunately this is not the case. Entrepreneurs and developers had to go through the rigour of meeting with the traditional land owners for direct sale or partnership, and in most cases one ends up spending huge amounts to acquire land and it still ends up being expensive when listed on the market. But, our organisation, Porch Integrated Services Ltd (PIS Ltd, has carved a niche in providing for our existing and prospective clients by offering affordability and class in our housing schemes.

Provision of infrastructural in housing projects

Government should make provision for more infrastructures like road network; bore holes for water, electricity and drainage system, amongst other things. This is the life of development anywhere in the world when it comes to housing schemes. These facilities would allow for rapid growth and we will have more urbanisation in the rural areas.

Local manufacturing of building materials

Local building materials should begin to come up more in the country as more needs to be done by the government and individuals, who are able, should be encouraged to mass produce building materials. This will make the materials affordable to low and middle income earners.

Provision of residential housing

Residential housing is one of the most important in housing schemes. With the new world order introduced by the COVID- 19 pandemic, people might decide to work from home thereby reducing the need for office spaces, residential housing will always be on high demand as people need to be sheltered and will play a major role in reducing the housing deficit in the nation.

Job creation as multiplier effect

Housing provision creates huge access to jobs to artisans and craftsmen, such as electricians, welders, masons, painters, plumbers and to other degrees of professional builders like civil engineers, architects, structural designers, consultants, sales and marketing personnel and a host of others.