Estate surveyors seek review of policies, laws to aid housing

Emmanuel Okas Wike, NIESV President


• Meets Lagos Assembly on funding, land allocation

Fresh concerns loomed large in the housing industry last week as estate surveyors called on policymakers and government to refocus the economy, review policies and laws inimical to housing development.

The body reiterated its demand for review, outright abrogation and replacement of the Land Use Act (LUA), saying the Act had become an impediment to housing provisions.

The President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Sir Emmanuel Wike, who led the call at the virtual national symposium on Housing and Land Administration, organised by the institution, said, asides the high cost of land acquisition and the cost of acquiring Certificate of Occupancy; the process involved was very cumbersome.

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Wike said government should come out with a visible, clear-cut and well-articulated policy direction to promote investment in the economy and housing development.

He noted that “in other climes when you have challenges in the economy, what the government does is to invest massively in infrastructure, create jobs, and stimulate economic activities that would ensure that people have means of livelihood.”

In his submission, the Director, Centre for Housing Studies, University of Lagos, Prof. Timothy Nubi, said government’s commitment through various policies and agencies seemed not to reflect any link between the housing problems and solutions proposed in policies.

Nubi, who doubles as an estate surveyors and valuer, advocated for a shift from World Bank driven models to end users driven approaches such as cooperative housing, faith-based housing development, improvement/urban regeneration through landlords and Community Development Associations.

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Another estate surveyor and Managing Director, CITEC International Estates Limited, Mr. Oludare Bello, listed the challenges of housing in the country to include scarcity of land and limited access to mortgage.

Meanwhile, Lagos branch of NIESV has implored the state’s House of Assembly to provide adequate budgetary provisions to meet huge demand for housing.

NIESV also want the lawmakers to set up land bank in partnership with the private sector, constitute the Land Use and Allocation Committee as means to solve the housing crisis.

The Branch Chairman, Adedotun Bamigbola, made these suggestions when he led members of its executives and other senior practitioners on a visit to the House of Assembly Committee on Housing in Ikeja.

Bamigbola said as core housing service providers, the practitioners were determined to explore how they could partner government using the legislative channels to proffer solution to the housing challenge of the State.

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According to him, the issues on housing are technical, stressing that the government would need to draw a road map and put in place legislation to make it work.

Bamigbola stated that adequate budgetary provision in the next budget and over five budgetary cycles could reverse the current three million housing deficit in the state.

He said that setting up of the Land Use and Allocations Committee as required under the Land Use Act will also promote address the challenges of housing.

“NIESV Lagos State is ready, and willing to support the Housing Committee and the Lagos State Government through professional advisory as well as work with the house as technical partners to achieve the desired housing goals for the benefit of the people.”

Receiving the team, the Chairman Committee on Housing, Bisi Yusuf, charged estate surveyors and valuers, to push private industry laws that would improve the housing sector.

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He pledged that his committee would take up the land bank issue, calling on the branch to submit proposals on what it wants the government to do in that regard.

Yusuf lamented the huge housing deficit in the State noting that it’s alarming. He solicited the cooperation of estate surveyors and valuers for the transformation of the industry.

Speaking on the Land Use and Allocation Committee matter, he stated, “Land is to us as petroleum is to Niger Delta but we are not making good use. Government can make a lot of money from relying on land and increasing homeownership. Some properties can be regenerated through the help of estate surveyors. The owner will be compensated, the government will earn and the developer will earn too.

Yusuf advised the practitioners to make their input in Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) bill, which is in its first reading.

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