The Nigerian Society of Engineers canvasses for the development of the housing sector to lift Nigeria out of its current economic recession
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Nov 7, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, is of the opinion that investments into housing sector can lift the country out of its current economic recession. The NSE said that no nation can remain in recession if its housing sector is strong. It urged the federal government to pay more attention to the industry as it has the capacity to revamp the economy.
Otis Anyaeji, president, NSE, during a world press conference at the headquarters of the society in Abuja, last week said: “It has been established in developed countries that a nation cannot be or remain in recession if the housing sector remains strong. This is because the housing industry has a powerful multiplier effect on the rest of the economy like steel, wood, cement, paint, aluminium, glass, plastics, cables, piping, sand, quarry stones, roofing sheets, electricity, water, etc. and the gains are best maximised if these products are manufactured locally.”
He said the government should reject the option of developing housing through the continued importation of the materials, but should rather insist on their being manufactured locally. The NSE president noted that the importance of housing as a sector recommended it as an independent full ministry rather than an appendage to highways.
Anyaeji explained that soil investigation was a major parameter in the failure of engineering facilities like roads, buildings, bridges, etc., adding that the National Building Code paid little attention to this. “Given the frequency of building collapse in Nigeria, the government needs to support getting soil investigation done on every engineered land improvement project and ensure that standards are adhered to strictly across all facets of construction activities,” he said.
According to Anyaeji: “In the opinion of Nigerian engineers, Mr. President has to recognise that the next two and half years have to be a revolutionary period in government and also business. He has to believe in, and tap into the capacity of Nigerians and Nigeria for rebirth and renewal as already witnessed in the entertainment, communications, banking and other industries. Clearly, the time is ripe or even overdue for similar revolution in the government/public sector.”
It should be recalled that the federal government had in September this year pledged to strengthen the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN, by ensuring full compliance with the National Housing Funds, NHF, Act. Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, who spoke during at the 32nd annual conference and general meeting of the African Union for Housing Finance, AUHF, in Abuja, said despite the challenges in the sector, the federal government has renewed its desire to ensure that Nigerians are able to get homes they can call their own.
“I am happy to note that despite the challenges that housing delivery has encountered in the country over the years, the renewed vigor and policy re-orientation of this administration have set the agenda for housing revolution. In this regard, the ministry has produced six designs of one bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom flats, bungalows and condominiums that will represent the Nigerian house which responds to our cultural diversity.
“Another key area of achievement is the pursuit and promotion of local content and standardisation of building components such as doors, windows, tiles, roof boards and other accessories to be produced by local manufacturers as part of our support for local industries and in pursuit of diversification and job creation.
“Effort is already being made to embrace and deploy modern technology to mass production of housing in all the states of the federation and FCT using the traditional procurement platform and the contractor finance initiative model, to reduce the housing deficit,” he explained.
Fashola also said the government plans to de-risk lending to approve housing developers as an incentive to make the housing sector attractive to private developers. “This will entail the government providing guarantees and other credit enhancement to developers. Government therefore plans to issue promissory notes to reduce developers financing requirements.
Government recognises that provision of leverage and guarantees are critical in attracting private sector funds into the industry thereby creating thousands of affordable houses each year as well as generate considerable employment and commercial activities.”