‘Cost of building materials will make housing unaffordable’
With the prospects for economic recovery somewhat murky, builders are revealing that the increase in the prices of building materials will not allow government to build low cost affordable housing for all.
President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Gbenga Tijani Shuaib who made this known in Lagos at the 2016 Building Construction and Machinery Exhibition (BUILDMACEX), said failure of the past governments to provide affordable housing for Nigerians has made living conditions difficult for the people.
His words: “This present government has said they are going to provide housing for 100,000 people but I believe they can do it, if they really want to. But my worry is that recently there has been increase in the prices of building materials so one wonders how government will be able to build low cost affordable housing for all.
“Some years back, a two bedroom house could be built at the cost of N1.5million but now it cost over N3 milion
He stressed that there are deficits in housing but there are many factors responsible for it including the exchange rate. “Since 2014, the statistics has shown there are 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria.
“ It is now worse because the exchange rate to a dollar has increased. Government should do something to bring down the exchange, which will help to bring down the cost of housing,” he added.
On the incessant cases of building collapse in the country, Tijani blamed some building engineers, architects and surveyors for using substandard products in building construction and urged the authority to ensure the enforcement of laws governing construction of buildings in order to curtail the malaise.
According to him, government must ensure the enforcement of laws governing construction of buildings.
He said: “One of the factors responsible for building collapses is the use of inferior and substandard products. If we allow substandard materials to be used, many buildings will not survive test of times.
“ Professionals such as builders, architects, engineers as well as surveyors have roles to play to stop building collapse.
“We have our own shortcomings too in terms of design and construction but as a body, we are working hard to ensure standards are being followed. Government also needs to ensure they enforce law that can give us the power to stop a building project that does not comply with standard,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director, Atlantic Exhibition, organizers of the event, Ayo Olugbade, said the event was an opportunity for businessmen and companies ‘to develop the nation and bring investment opportunities to Nigeria.’’
For the National President of Nigerian Association of Commerce, Industry, Mine and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Bassey Edem, a minimum of 700,000 homes will need to be constructed each year to meet the growing demands for housing. He also stressed the need for infrastructure construction.
While estimating that $289.8 billion would be needed in the provision of about one million new housing units each year, he said, there are national policies to trigger demand in the sector such as the National Housing Policy and the National Urban Development Policy.
Edem, who was represented by National Deputy President of NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson also stressed the need for consistent effort to develop sectors of the economy that reduce the dependence on the production of crude oil will in order to grow the nation’s economy.
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