Chime Ugochukwu

Despite biting economic situation in Nigeria, the real estate sector is experiencing growth, the National President, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Rev Ugochukwu Obiora Chime confirmed last week in Abuja.
He explained, “There is still housing development because many manufacturers in this country are operating at below 20 percent capacity utilisation of their factories so some of the idle funds are now kept in aspects that can oscillate with the economy.
“So people now build houses, build malls with the aim of securing the value of their assets, the value of their money because when you put this money in…when there’s inflation, the nominal value of N1 will still remain N1. But the value of an asset created with that money five years ago will keep on increasing.
“Another reason is members of REDAN have decided to keep on investing in this sector because they believe in it. That’s why you still find a lot of developers, a lot of estates springing up.
“We believe that the future of Nigeria, the future of investment, the increase in GDP we’re asking for will come from the housing sector because the global economy dynamics have shown clearly…that the solution lies in a reinvigorated, dynamic and refocused housing delivery mechanism. That’s why Americans are going in there,” the REDAN president expressed.
For Nigeria to drive home its needs, he said, “Government should encourage local investors and entrepreneurs and developers to come in more forcefully because their own money isn’t repatriated to anywhere. It doesn’t affect our naira. What they need is finance. Housing is no more about shelter – it’s about employment, economic inclusiveness, multiplier effect on the local economy.”
He spoke about the corrupt happenings unearthed by government. “As a human being, I’m traumatised by the revelations. We need to do two things: review the law to make us punish those who erred.
“Two, we must check the system and find out how the system operates that allows these things to occur. The third thing is there is a corruption among us, more mind boggling than the corruption we see on pages of newspapers – that corruption is mismanagement of our national cake by systemic institutionalised fight against the masses.”
He lamented that though Nigerians contribute more than 99 percent of the funds under the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), they don’t have a representative in the team that manages the money. This he said is not good for the people.
Ugochukwu described as a set back the removal of Mr Gimba Ya’u Kumo as Managing Director of FMBN because, “He revolutionised the bank. He raised the amount of collection from N800 million per month to N2.4 billion per month.”
The REDAN president who said REDAN can produce between 200,000 and 500,000 houses per annum maintained that the association will train artisans to ensure that competency and skills gap are closed.
“There is 53 percent unemployment of the youth. We saw that we have a pool of people, school leavers who are unemployed but don’t have the relevant skills to play in this vital sector.
“If today this country embarks on building 100,000 units of housing every year, we don’t have the number of qualified artisans who will do that,” he stated.
According to him, Nigerian local construction professionals have skills but they must upscale them to be efficient.

Source: Daily Trust




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