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How housing minister, Dangiwa, can boost sector — Experts

Key players in the housing and real estate sector have reacted to the appointment of Ahmed Dangiwa, an architect, as the minister of the newly…

Key players in the housing and real estate sector have reacted to the appointment of Ahmed Dangiwa, an architect, as the minister of the newly created Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, setting agenda for him on how he can boost the sector.

While congratulating the new minister, Alhaji Mohammed Sulaiman, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ABS Blueprint Consortium, an Abuja-based real estate company, said Dangiwa’s expertise as an architect and his experience as a former Managing Director (MD) of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) make him a perfect fit to tackle the housing problems.

He said, “One area he should be able to focus on is to see how to bridge that gap between private developers and the various funds available for developing housing in the country. The federal government has initiatives, through the FMBN, the Family Homes Funds (FHF), and others where funds are provided but they are not readily accessible or rather, they are not as accessible as they should be to private developers. We have developers who have the capacity and the willingness to develop estates and houses to contribute their quota to bridging the housing deficit. But most of these agencies that are supposed to support the developers by providing these funds are not working with these developers so that is an anomaly because we have developers that are doing well in the industry and they should be accessing these funds seamlessly so that they can provide affordable housing.”

He emphasised that there should be a clear-cut procedure for accessing the funds similar to the way the procurement process is done for government jobs so that the process can be unencumbered.

“The whole value-chain when it comes to housing delivery has to be looked into because there are a lot of bottlenecks in the process and most importantly, for the minister, he has to target the number of houses he intends to deliver within his tenure and he has to aggressively pursue that target,” he added.

Sulaiman also urged the new minister to ensure that the social housing programmes of government agencies are modernised to reflect the social realities of the time and also when contracts are given for the construction of such houses, the inflationary trend of the Nigerian economy should be put into consideration.

Meanwhile, the Housing Development Advocacy Network (HDAN )President, Festus Adebayo, has applauded President Bola Tinubu for separating housing from works.

Adebayo said the new ministry would play its constitutional role of being an enabler of housing development and championing relevant policies in collaboration with important NGOs and professional bodies with less distraction.

He said, “The need for a full-fledged ministry cannot be overemphasised as it will enable the ministry to concentrate on housing, home ownership, mortgage development, and policies, among others.

“Ministry of Works which is responsible for infrastructures, road construction etc., is in a bad state, and housing on the other hand is also in a terrible state. And it is in these two areas that citizens can feel the impact of governance.”

Adebayo urged the incoming minister of housing to make the issue of real estate and housing data a priority, especially, providing accurate housing deficit data and information on the various categories of houses needed by Nigerians.

“The new minister of housing should also exploit the opportunity of developing cooperative housing in Nigeria, and many countries have used the model to bridge the housing deficit gap.

“Mortgage sector is another area to look into, and the minister must come up with a committee to address these problems. Mortgage development will help create hope for our youths who have plans of leaving the country as a result of losing interest in it.

“The new minister must also be ready to identify professionals in the sector, estate developers with excellent reputation and record and performance to work with to deliver mega cities in the different geo-political zones. With that, the manifesto of APC in delivering houses can be fulfilled.

“There’s also a need to empower the agencies that will be under the new ministry of housing because some of them as of today are underperforming due to a lack of enabling environment and appropriate laws in delivering on their mandates.

“He must also be ready to work with the National Assembly to implement laws that will attract investments in the real estate sector in Nigeria. He must single-handedly lead the building of made-in-Nigeria houses models that will make Nigerians know that it is possible to have made-in- Nigeria houses, even if the input is just 80 per cent.

“The new minister must also prioritise the protection of consumers and manufacturers of real estate products; there must be transparency and documentation to ease the flow of activities.

“For us at HDAN, we strongly believe that there are many international agencies that can be considered to be part of this exercise, especially in the area of finance due to its importance to the economic development of the country.

“In a nutshell, the new administration must understand that direct construction of housing by the ministry is not the way to go; because the last exercise of direct construction by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing did not go well,” he said.

For Mr Apoede Atsegbua, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Orange Estate Land Developers Ltd, to address the issue of the housing deficit in Nigeria as well as the myriad of challenges in the sector, the new minister and his team must be willing and committed to synergy with the private sector.

“Housing is extremely essential to national development and security. Crime would continue to increase as long as the housing deficit remains especially in the semi-urban areas and city centres.  Moreso, housing improves individual and family health, and education and it is an enabling environment for families to plan and improve their livelihood.

“Thus, there’s an urgent need for the CBN and federal government to immediately approve huge funding to the new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to enable the ministry to plan and scale up sustainable social housing projects in Nigeria,” he said.

Harping on the need for partnership, Atsegbua, added that the new minister should synergise with the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) and other stakeholders in the sector so that credible real estate companies can be funded to deliver housing across the country.

He said, “The ministry should not engage contractors to build houses because most of the houses would not be built with the desired standard and quality. Real estate companies have a name to protect and they would use their experience to ensure quality and durability.”

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