A housing expert says it has become imperative for the government to reappraise and evaluate its land allocation policy in order to enhance effective land administration and usage in the country.
The call according to the expert is mainly aimed at assisting estate developers to discharge their roles and responsibilities in providing affordable housing for Nigerians effectively.
The Managing Director of WISER Estates, Mr Nasir Suleimani, made this assertion recently, while also urging the government to stop allocating to individuals as this makes the cost of land unduly highly exorbitant beyond the reach of Nigerians. According to him “the government should obtain a database of competent estate developers and get them registered with government. The government should dialogue with them and allocate land to them. The government through this can dictate the cost of the houses to make them affordable. It is the real estate developers that cater for provision of infrastructure facilities and this makes the price exorbitant for the masses.”
He further attributed the inability of Nigerians to have access to affordable housing to the government’s involvement in allocating land to individuals who he said had now become third parties.
“Government should stop giving land to individuals. There should be a strong focus on engendering mass housing and estate development which should be handled by professional estate developers,” he said.
According to him, real estate developers have now been saddled with the added responsibility of making their estates habitable through the provision of infrastructural facilities, thus making lands and houses built by them to be very expensive.
Waziri further stated that statistics had shown that there were 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria, but he noted that the major problem was that of land acquisition and access to mortgage facility.
He also lamented that often, real estate developers found it very difficult getting land, simply as a result of government’s policy on land allocation which he said had continued to create problems for developers.
“The land developed on by real estate experts are acquired through third parties. They hoard the land and the cost increases and the masses cannot afford the land. Banks request collateral from the people and there is no way the people can afford it,” he remarked.
He therefore stated that however, it was as a result of government’s bad land policies that made WISER Estate, as a group of competent professionals, determined to provide quality housing for Nigerians by embarking on several initiatives to support the dreams of Nigerians who desired to own their own homes.
He said the company was doing this by providing Nigerians access to mortgage loans through little interest rates from banks. The loans he said were spread over the construction period and flexible in payment. He asserted that through this, the company had supported many Nigerian to own their own homes.
Waziri further counselled that real estate developers should put on “human face” and not take undue advantage of people. “Real estate operators should know that low income earners need houses, and should therefore look for ways to improvise affordable and accessible to the low income earners segment in the country,” he said.
“Real estate developers should seek to develop low cost housing estates to alleviate the sufferings of low income earners and help the masses to own the house by lowering the profit margin.
“There should be access to proper mortgage financing by the low income earners. The real estate operators can facilitate this to help the people through instalment payment over the construction period. The owners will then not pay any interest and this is a way to help people own a house,” he stated.