During the year the Federal Government ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to commence work to return the nation’s four refineries to full operational status, just as the corporation embarked on exploratory operations in nation’s frontier basins of the Chad Basin and Benue Trough in line with the current administration’s desire to increase the reserve base of the country
A data from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, indicated that Nigeria exported crude oil to the US valued at N457.732 billion in the third quarter of 2017, making the country the second highest buyer of Nigeria’s crude oil
Stakeholders in the building industry are disillusioned with a body language that suggested that there may not be a paradigm shift for Nigerians in the sector in 2018.
Professionals in the housing sector are already advancing reasons why prospective homeowners may remain at the same point, if not worst at the end of this year.
From the 2018 budgetary allocation for housing to policies from governments and what happened in the past few years, experts are saying there are not enough stimuli to significantly address the nation’s housing shortfall.
This, according to them, if not frontally tackled may further increase the nation’s housing deficit and thereby render more Nigerians homeless.
However, they are of the view that despite the unfavourable clement, operatives would have to think outside the box to jumpstart a new regime of home ownership in Nigeria.
Speaking with the INDEPENDENT on the outlook for Nigeria’s Housing Sector in 2018, Emmanuel Bode Afolayan, Immediate past president, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) said he does not expect a difference from what happened 2017, adding that, apart from the fact that difference in budget allocation was marginal, the difference was not much, there is another major problem of implementation of whatever allocated in Nigeria.
“From all the indices, I am not seeing anything that the government is presently bringing or planning to do in the New Year that would make it much better in terms of mortgage accessibility, cost of a mortgage, in terms of interest rate, or financial capability of potential buyers. Those are the types of things that would definitely enhance demand. What are those things that the government is likely to do in the New Year that would make somebody with civil income be able to access a mortgage, nothing!
“Government hasn’t done anything towards recapitalisation of Federal Mortgage Bank that we would claim there would be more money in the mortgage subsector; the economy is not so buoyant to crash down the cost of borrowing that would make a lot of people to be able to borrow money to acquire new houses.
“We can see the rate of the Bond; we can see that people would rather buy Treasury Bills than to lend money to people to buy houses. So, as long as nothing would happen in terms of government coming to enhance demand, nothing can happen in terms of activities in the industry, courtesy of government’s commitment to enabling environment. But then, players in the industry would not fold their hands.”
Notwithstanding, Afolayan said that there is the need for proactiveness on the part of private developers to still ensure Nigerians do not suffer governments’ inertia in housing matter.
“But one thing that a whole lot of us, I mean players in the industry have come to realise is that we have to be more proactive.
“With what is on the ground, with the present situation, players in the industry, that is the housing sectors operators, flexibility and ingenuity are key, we have come to realise that if we have to remain in business we have to be very flexible to find a way out of the situation.
“One of those things I am positive about is that most players in the industry would definitely go for what the market can absorb. If that is to happen, there is the likelihood for us to have more of affordable housing projects coming up,” he added.
Stakeholders Talk Tough For 2018
Emmanuel Bode Afolayan, Immediate past president, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) charged government officials to embrace and encourage fresh initiatives to move the housing sector forward, adding that, 90 per cent private sector deserved must be encouraged in 2018.
Afolayan urged the governments to increase the standard of living of the people, a position the Labour Unions are already calling for, saying the more money the people have, they more savings they would do and resultantly, Nigerians would have more funds to invest in fulfilling their dream of owning their homes. He also called on the policymakers to look into the mortgage subsector and increase the availability of funds.
On what Nigerian architects would do to encourage homeownership in Nigeria, Arc Festus Adibe Njoku, President, Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) said they intend to introduce the Nigerian affordable house that meets the housing needs of the masses in our cultural setting the designs of which can then be bought into by not only the government but also the business community for provision of shelter for their workforce.
Projecting a way forward for the education sector, an educationist and school administrator, Dr. Tunde Elebute urged the Federal Government to swallow its pride and invite Vice Chancellors and the warring unions at the ivory tower in order to find a lasting solution to the crisis of unfair sharing formula of the N23billion Earned Allowances.
He blamed corruption in high places for the stunted growth of the education at the Federal, states and local council levels and added that money and allocation meant for infrastructure development and payment of staff salaries and emoluments have made their ways into private pockets while the beneficiaries are left to attend classes on empty stomachs.
“Some of the funds that were supposed to have gone into infrastructure upgrade and for the payment of teachers, support staff allowances and salaries have ended up in the private pockets of people. Even some of their counterparts at the ivory towers have also been found wanting in the management of the affairs of some institutions.
He advocated the need for the appointment of the right people and technocrats to manage the education sector in the New Year, saying that management of the sector by people of Northern extraction has resulted in the reversed development and slowed down required progress in the sector.
To Builder Kunle Awobodu, first Vice President, Nigeria Institute of Building (NIOB), present, there is a glut in the property sector due to the low purchasing power, though Nigerians hope that things would change. “As a result of the glut, investors in the building sector are not recouping their monies, hence are cautious of putting in more funds in the real estate business”, he revealed.
An estate surveyor and valuer, Emmanuel Wike said the government should desist from the construction of housing projects but should rather concentrate on creating an enabling environment that will guarantee and boost housing provision in Nigeria, saying without which, housing provision for Nigerians would remain on the paper.
Apparently not pleased with operations of the maritime sector, Lucky Amiwero, President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) advocated for a complete overhaul of the sector.
According to him, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakaku Peterside, the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello have not done anything to impact positively in the sector, as a result, should be sacked and replaced with technocrats and professionals.
Commenting on the activities in the sector for 2017, Peter Akintoye Ojo, a stakeholder in the maritime sub-sector of the Nigerian economy lampooned government agencies overseeing the maritime sector, saying they performed woefully in 2017.
In his submission Ojo, who is the Chairman, International Freight Forwarders Association (IFFA), Tincan Island chapter said: “I have not seen, with due respect, any good changes these organisations you have mentioned are bringing to the maritime sector.
Just look at the access roads of the Nigerian Ports Authority. The ones that do not even belong to the Federal Government, yet the NPA did not deem it fit to fix. But they are collecting levies and seven per cent surcharge. So what are they doing with the money? He queried.
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Author: Our Correspondents