An Abuja-based estate developer, Mr Nosa Edeko, has blamed some government policies and bureaucratic bottlenecks in getting land allocations as some of the challenges facing mass housing in Nigeria.
Edeko who is the Chief Executive Officer of GEFEM Property and Construction Limited, an estate developing firm.
He said mass houses built in the country, especially in Abuja go beyond the reach of an average civil servant because of the high cost of acquiring the land.
“Mass housing problems in Nigeria especially in Abuja stem from what developers pass through; there are bottlenecks and difficult government policies that hinder us from getting approvals and accessing lands.
“Acquiring land for estate development comes at a very high cost and because the developers are in business to make profit, they have to partition these lands and sell to the people at a high cost just as they have purchased it.
“By the time you put the cost of what you acquired a land and cost of building it, it now makes the building more expensive than other parts of the country.
“The policy must be flexible and friendly, because government year in year out, talk about housing deficit, yet the problem is increasing on a yearly basis, without any serious effort to arrest it.
“You cannot say there is housing deficit and land is not available; we will not build these houses in the air,” Edeko said.
According to him, the idea of mass housing could be defeated in situations where approvals cannot be given in the city centre for the building of bungalows.
“The challenge basically for those who cannot afford residential houses within FCT is that there are certain districts where you cannot build certain specification of houses.
“For instant, you cannot get approval in the city centre for bungalows; you can only get approval for penthouses and duplexes.
“So, the costs of building these types of houses are usually very high, and when you put that side by side by what government workers earn, it will be difficult for them to afford such houses.
“A way to mitigate that is to have accommodation in areas where you can build bungalows and low cost houses for workers, but the challenge is that we must move a little outside the city centre.
The estate developer said that his organisation has designed a flexible payment plan to enable civil servants own their own houses. This, he said ranges from N8 million for 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom apartments which goes for N12 million.
Edeko also said duplexes and penthouses are also available for those that can afford them.
He appealed to government to look at some of the mass housing policies and embargo in some districts in the FCT, to ease access to land and enable developers deliver more and cheaper accommodation to Abuja residents.