The construction and mortgage sectors must collaborate more effectively to deliver affordable homes, an estate surveyor and valuer, Mr Emmanuel Okoli, has said.
Okoli, the president of Osita Okoli and Company, wants industry operatives to pledge their support for “Family Homes Fund,” a newly-introduced private sector-driven financing solution to housing challenges by the Federal Government.
It is aimed at financing mortgages for low-income earners under its social housing programme, by raising about N1trillion. The fund is aimed at delivering solutions to alleviate the country’s affordable housing crisis.
“In the face of all the odds, there is need for industry professionals to strive to lend their expertise to the Family Homes Fund, or any other such innovative, so that as a united property industry, we can tap into these ground-breaking initiatives to put an end to rising homelessness in our country,” Okoli said.
On the spate of construction mishaps in the country, he said enforcement of the revised National Building Code (NBC) imbued with specific punishment for culprits in case of collapsed building, was the only way out. Not punishing culprits involved in such incidents sends the wrong message to the public and the industry.
For instance, Okoli regrets that two years after, nobody has been found culpable in the unfortunate incident of the collapse of the roof of the indoor hall of the sports complex of the U.J Esuene Stadium in Calabar, and also a church building which collapsed during a Sunday service in the same state.
Stressing the need for a collective effort to ensure the implementation of the Code, which he believes will arrest the national embarassment often caused by the increasing cases of the built environment failures and the near dominance and take-over of the industry by quacks, Okoli warned that the consequences of an ineffective and non-operational NBC in social and economic terms are too monumental for any sane society to ignore.
The NBC was published in 2006 to put a stop to the unpalatable trends in the building construction industry, eliminate or reduce to the barest minimum the growing incidences of collapsed building in the country, as well as promote safe, qualitative housing for every Nigeria
In order to meet with new trends and innovations in the sector, the building code is expected to be reviewed every three years. But unfortunately, several efforts to revise it to meet new challenges had met a brick-wall until the recent efforts of the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
Okoli is also worried about the poor state of infrastructure in the country. To stem this trend, he wants a declaration of a state of emergency in the infrastructure sector and the establishment of an Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF). He said they were essential to get the country out of its huge infrastructure deficit.
Although he noted that the country has completed the development of a National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP), its implementation will require tens of trillions of naira, making him to urge the National Assembly to pass appropriate legislation establishing the IDF and the implementation of the NIIMP.
Seeking an amendment to the Company and Allied Matters Act that requires companies to contribute three to five per cent of their pre-tax profit to the IDF, Okoli described the infrastructural deficit as large and affecting every sector, adding that investments in the road sector alone requires at least the construction of 18,000 km of new roads annually for the next seven years.
“Good infrastructure is critical to the overall development of the Nigerian economy, which in turn, impacts the standard of living of Nigerians. The government alone cannot fund the huge portfolio alone due to its limited financial resources and against the backdrop of current global financial tightening and increased competition for available infrastructure funds, so all hands must be on deck to achieve it,” Okoli submitted.
Culled from thenationonlineng.net