Kunle Faleti is a housing finance professional. In this interview with DAYO AYEYEMI, the real estate expert gave some suggestions on what the government should do to improve the real estate sector in 2022.
How can the Nigerian government improve home ownership for Nigerians in 2022?
The government should continue its efforts to create an enabling environment for the private sector and guide foreign investment in the sector. These initiatives include improving the ease of doing business; promote tax relief on the importation of construction/building materials related to housing; Fully implement existing housing finance interventions such as the Nigerian Housing Finance Scheme and Family House Funds.
How to solve some of the problems facing the real estate sector, in particular to obtain affordable financing for the construction of housing?
There is no ceiling that fits all solutions. This will require a combination of effort and collaboration among stakeholders. It will take some time before the impact is felt. The liquidity fund that saw the emergence/establishment of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) is still struggling as not all components are fully implemented. The other three components (mortgage guarantee insurance, housing microfinance and technical assistance) are not yet fully implemented. If all four work simultaneously, we will have single-digit interest rates on home loans.
Is it possible to improve the supply of affordable housing without enacting legislation on some of the housing bills pending in the National Assembly?
Yes it’s possible! People (decision makers, stakeholders and operators) are lazy and do not want to think outside the box. There is no will or motivation to succeed. India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Jordan have experienced and are still experiencing challenges similar to those of Nigeria, but they have been able to find a way out while waiting for laws and ordinances to be passed or amended.
Building material prices are no longer favorable to developers and home builders. How can we solve this problem?
The question is why rely on imported materials? The country must invest and fund research into locally produced building materials. Politically, he can introduce high taxes to discourage the importation of luxury items. Our universities and other institutions of higher education should collaborate with public research institutions and professional associations such as the Nigerian Roads and Constructions Research Institute (NIBBRI), the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) and the Nigerian Society of Engineers etc. develop local content.
High population and rapid urbanization without corresponding infrastructure are other problems. What is your suggestion?
Infrastructure planning and funding cannot be done at the federal level. In developed economies, local governments (councils and counties) are primarily responsible for infrastructure planning. Nigeria has not had a population census for decades, so how can it plan its infrastructure? You need to have a headcount before you can plan the infrastructure.