Experts said the housing sector is very vital for economic growth, noting that government at all levels must come up with plans to boost the sector.
They spoke at the inaugural annual memorial lecture in honor of Otunba Fatai Osikoya hosted by the Nigeria Institution of Building in Lagos on Friday.
The founder of the Center for Values in Leadership, Professor Patrick Utomi, described the housing sector as a key driver of economic growth.
He said policymakers need to make plans to ensure that everyone who can vote has the means to own a home.
Utomi said: “The bottom line is that we have a huge housing deficit. This shows that housing and construction are too important to be left to builders. We all need to participate.
“It shows how the construction and housing sector can play a transformative role in the economic fortunes of Nigeria, so we cannot take it for granted. But can we have the value it takes on, can we make the contributions it makes to GDP crystallize?
He added: ‘Let’s democratize home ownership, anyone who could vote should be able to own a house and the strategy is to be able to build houses so that at 18-21 there is a type of housing that you can allow you. It is in this trajectory that we have not embarked. If the houses are expensive and so important, we have to do a very important job to provide them. If a 21-story building can hang up on those who fit it out, school children will end up next to the building; they lie and buildings can add to the bad image of our country.
Utomi added, “Nigeria has far fewer investment opportunities than Ghana, partly because no one is sure what economic policies regulators would bring, largely because of corruption, regulatory risk. The biggest risk of doing business in Nigeria is regulatory risk, it is worse than any market risk you can think of because the mindset of a regulator is that of a tyrant. Wherever people have authority in Nigeria, all they want to do is bully until we can reverse that and have an institutional arrangement, so how can we move forward? »
The Governor’s Special Advisor for Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye, stressed the need to address the huge housing deficit in the state and the country at large.
She said, “This comes at a time when we are looking at possible solutions for affordable mass housing, housing delivery and sustainability for Lagos State. I am of the opinion that the floor should be devoted to discussing the issue of housing provision and home ownership in the country and also proposing solutions to these challenges. Even as a government or private investors, we want mass housing provision.
“We are limited by challenges such as affordability in terms of house prices and that of buying the property as well as maintaining the housing range, or the cost of processing title documentation are problems that we should start solving.
“In addition, the issues of high cost of construction and high cost of land, which in turn is reflected in the cost of the selling price, need to be addressed.”
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