Why Low-cost Housing is Difficult To Come By in Nigeria – Otunba Giwa

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… says engaging competent hands, use of right materials will put stop to building collapse

By Taofeek Lawal, Abuja

The group managing director/chief executive officer, Amron Global Services, Otunba (Dr) Hassan Olawale Giwa, has expressed fears that delivering low-cost housing to Nigerians may continue to be a mirage when factors militating against it are considered.

Giwa, an architect and estate developer, said while those in the building and the housing sector would have loved to deliver affordable housing to low-income earners, he stated that factors such as cost of building materials, cost and location of land earmarked for building construction and the exchange rate of Naira to foreign currencies are great determinants in achieving this.

He said, “It saddens my heart that the people at the lowest bottom of pyramid are finding it difficult to have house over their heads. While the government is trying their best but I think they can do more especially in the area of land purchase at affordable rate for estate developers. We developers go extra miles to pay through our nose to buy lands. The truth is you cannot pay a very exorbitant fee to secure lands and provide low-cost housing, it is not possible. There is also the banking sector which may find it difficult to lend money to genuine investors who are willing to own property genuinely. The government may find it difficult to regulate the housing sector because the costs of building materials remain same whether you are building in the bush or in the city. Also, the cost of land and the location determines everything and the type of building structure you want to put on ground. In like manner, the exchange rate is a great determinant in the housing sector because most of what we use nowadays comes from outside the country. Our people forget that we can source for materials at home but majority of our people prefer materials from abroad.”

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He added, “If developers are getting land at cheaper rates and the cost of building materials are not expensive it is a matter of time for low-income earner to own their own houses. Then one can roll out the owner occupies and the number of years it will take such people to complete their payments. But my advice to Nigerians is that they should cut their coats according to their sizes. There is no crime in starting with one bedroom until you get your dream house than put yourself in unnecessary trouble

Speaking on building collapse in Nigeria, the building expert said the best way to put a stop to it is to engage experts in building construction from ground zero to the finishing stages. He said it is high time stakeholders in the building industry checked the influx of quacks into the industry to put an end to unnecessary loss of lives.

“We can halt incessant collapse of buildings in Nigeria if we follow the normal procedures. Professionals must be fully engaged in building construction from ground zero to when it will be delivered to the occupants. From the architects who handle the design to competent hands who will handle the construction. It is when developers who are engaged in building construction want to maximize everything or cut corners that will witness building collapse. While we can blame these developers, the house owners also go for the cheapest materials in the market forgetting that construction of buildings are not a short-term thing but long term and therefore needs all the best put into it. The same way you will want to put a lot of efforts in your day to day activities health wise by consulting doctors when you feel unwell or engaging lawyers when there is a case beyond you is the same importance you are expected to attach to building construction. So, the quality of the house you want to occupy with your family is very important to forestall any calamity.”

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“The quality of house you want to put your head is very important because if anything can take your life as regards consumption or recklessness or carelessness to your health, it is the same way building can also give way when you just put anything you see into it without minding the quality. So engaging qualified hands to do the right thing regarding construction, design and others associated with building construction is very important. Everything should be done and applied according to specifications and in conformation with how the regulated bodies put it.”

Otunba Hassan Olawale Giwa
About Taofeek Olayemi Lawal 167 Articles
Taofeek Olayemi Lawal is a senior correspondent with 9News Nigeria. Reporter for Women Advancement For Economic & Leadership Empowerment Foundation in Africa (WAELE). He has over 10 years experience in journalism and served as Senior Correspondent for LEADERSHIP Newspaper Abuja as well as Champion Newspaper Limited, Lagos. Contact Taofeek Olayemi Lawal by email or phone call. Phone: +234 805 307 4114, 081 0464 0001 Email: sportsesho@yahoo.com

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