Monday, June 15, 2020 5:16 pm
By Adejoke Adeleye,Abeokuta
An expert in real estate, Armstrong Tope Akintunde has advised the Federal government on how to make a low cost housing estate more than juicy rhetorical commentaries for its people using Public private partnership.
Armstrong who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Aerofield Homes Limited gave the advice while speaking with journalist in Abeokuta about his experience as an estate expert. He said the plans of governments desirous of low cost housing project must put into consideration the activities and the contributions of professionals and artisans in building, as well as manufacturers and stockists of building materials.
Akintunde who started as an agronomist hinted that Nigeria with her high population of youths who are jobless needs a quick win solution by empowering entrepreneurs to create jobs in larger scale to battle unemployment.
“Nigeria has suffered the paradox of economic growth without development for many years. Many economists often lament what they have come to describe as our ‘job-less growth.’ While all macro-economic indices point to an economy which is truly growing and there is noticeable improvement in our public infrastructure, especially power and roads, unemployment still remains a challenge. With our huge population comprising mainly youths, this is worrisome and a great threat to our posterity.
“Nigeria needs to achieve a quick-win solution that ensures that most of our employable citizens are gainfully engaged. We must harness the innovative spirit and entrepreneurial acumen of our people in our battle against unemployment. We must empower our entrepreneurs to be in the position to create jobs on a large scale. However, as our institution wants it to grow across the federation, having been a business entrepreneur myself and having been a resource person in several training programs for entrepreneurs, as a matter of priority, we intend to establish a world-class academy for the training and development of young entrepreneurs in the nearest future. It shall be a Centre of excellence which others would want to emulate.”
It must be taken into consideration that no matter how genuine the intention is or strong the drive may be, if the prices of building materials are not controlled or managed, the idea will never come to fruition. It will be comparable with winking in the dark, because, if the prices of building materials are exurbitant, the possibility of building low cost housing will be frustrated, thwarted and a mission impossible.
“The government should make reasonably price of lands available to private property investors. This will forestall the presence of the class of people called as land grabbers or area boys who are fond of making some financial inducement from builders before they can commence building at their sites.
Also the governments should also encourage private Housing Investors by giving them some waivers in the areas of official payments such as C of O, construction charges etcetera as this will not only reduce cost of building but also give them confidence of governments’ support. Additionally, knowing that we have land developers here and there, governments could partner with some tested and result oriented ones amongst them, because, as it is often said, governments alone cannot do it all.” He advised
Building collapse has become a recurrent decimal in the land because of the selfishness and unseriousness of both builders and governments on the grounds that many of them are not doing the necessary things. A builder wants to use the materials for one building to build two or three houses. The governments officers who are to supervise and inspect the propriety or standards of materials to be used and are not ready to go the site to inspect them or the construction works once the builders are ready to settle them. There had been reported cases of building approval done in the offices without the officials charged with such responsibility merely relying on the information supplied by the builders. Additionally, reports abound that many potential home owners employing quacks who only adopt trial and errors instead of professional builders who are seasoned with building experiences. As long as standards are compromised and supervising authority are lackadaisical, collapse building experience will continue.” He noted
When asked who civil servants or people earning below #100,00 per month can own a home of their own,he recommended a cooperative arrangements and other self help like government mortgage.
“As a Developer or Builder, one must confess and state it bluntly that no Nigerians earning between #20,000 to #100,000 can really afford a home with the ever increasing cost of living: education, transportation, health and feeding. Besides, the cost of building materials is daily increasing.
“The only way the classes of people could own homes is by cooperative arrangements, other self help projects or by governments supports in the form of mortgage or some form of allocations in which the costs are deducted from their salaries. We have been able to surmount the problem because of our realistic and focused approach to the home sector. We priotised the sector, and so deployed all efforts required. As earlier enumerated, housing programme, particularly low cost ones are realizable with dedication, determination and genuine drive by the governments and governments’ officials. If all the issues highlighted above are coplied with, then the problem is surmountable.
It is also apposite for governments to create satellite towns or settlements in which case reasonably priced lands are procured, built, with provisions of schools, markets, good road network and other facilities that would make such places conducive for the residents.”
Nigeria’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are faced with many challenges which have stunted their growth and development. Some of these challenges are poor infrastructural facilities, inadequate funding and lack of access to capital, weak managerial and entrepreneurial skills, limited demand for their products and services, and competition from foreign products. Among these challenges, the most restricting is the inadequacy of funds and lack of access to capital. Indeed, most of the other problems could easily be resolved with sufficient finance. Our financial institutions typically wait for entrepreneurs to become successful before they take any serious interest in their businesses. However creative and innovative they are, these entrepreneurs often cannot meet the strict credit risk acceptance criteria of banks.
Akintunde (Popularly called Armstrong) has been involved in the construction of several multi-million naira housing projects with a possible of expansion of the property business to help government further bridge housing deficit in the country which prompted his candid advice on public private partnership arrangement that covers provision of land and land title documents, favourable regulations in the industry to promote usage of standard materials and professionals in the building and construction of houses and other infrastructure as part of efforts to curb incessant building collapse.
He commended the efforts of government at all levels to make Nigerians home owners and reduce increasing deficits in the home ownership statuses of many Nigerians as he offers valuable advice on panacea to economic downturn and prerequisites needed to either be gainfully employed in the industry or to become home owners.
“Having trained and grew up with the ability to manage multiple responsibilities at once by focusing on task while keeping track of others, these multi tasking skills in me wouldn’t allow for any clash of interests. Akintunde boasted