2018:The Low, high events in housing sector

In this report, TOPE SUNDAY, recaps some of the major events in the housing sector in 2018.

As the 2018 waned down, the country’s built environment witnessed both high and low events during the year under review. The sector, which was budgeted over N30bn for by the Federal government was beehive of activities throughout the year. However, some experts are of the views that Public-Private-Partnership would move the sector forward.

Real Estate drives Nigeria’s economy in 2 Q

The year 2018 ended on a good footing as the real estate and the construction sectors were listed in the non-oil sector that drove the country economy in the second quarter of the year.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its released Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the second quarter of 2018 indicated that for the first time since the country’s exit from recession in 2017, economic growth was driven by the non-oil sector.

According to the report, the non-oil sector expanded by 2.05 per cent and contributed 91.45 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), compared to 90.96 per cent recorded in Q2 2017.

It indicated that the construction sector grew by 7.66 per cent in Q2 2018 from -1.54 per cent in Q1 2018 and 4.14 per cent in Q4 2017.

Although, the real estate sector contracted by -3.88 per cent in Q2 2018 from -9.40 per cent in Q1 2018, it was higher than the 5.87 per cent reported in the preceding quarter.

The cement manufacturing sector grew by 3.84 per cent in Q2 2018 from 5.28 per cent in Q1 2018 and -1.92 per cent in Q4 2017, as well as wood and wood products by 2.23 per cent in Q2 2018 from 1.53 per cent in Q1 2018.

FMBN relaxes conditions for accessing housing loans

 Another major event in the sector in the year under review was the relaxation of the conditions for accessing mortgage funds from the bank. Under the new conditions Nigerians above 18 with a steady pay check will now be able to access up to N5 million housing loan from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN,  without equity contribution.

 The revised requirements are a 100% reduction in the equity contribution required of beneficiaries.

 In the old order, beneficiaries had to contribute 10% to access up to N5 million, 20% on N10 million and N30 million to access N15 million.

With the new conditions, an equity contribution of 10% will be needed for funds between N5 and N15 million for contributors to the National Housing Fund, NHF.

ARCON, CORBON move against quacks

IN 2018, the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) and the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) expressed their readiness and willingness to move against quacks in the built sector.

On its part, ARCON announced that it has set up a projects registration number system, while CORBON disclosed that it had reached out to stakeholders in the industry to regulate the sector.

According to the ARCON President, Dipo Ajayi, the association intended to combat the scourge of building failure and collapse through the elimination of quackery, just as he disclosed that only fully registered and financially current architects and architectural firms would prepare, produce and submit designs for planning and implementation approval and receive such approvals when given.

Also, the CORBON Chairman, Prof. Kabir Bala, said that the council was reaching out to relevant stakeholders in the building environment for synergy in enforcing laws to regulate products and processes which are inputs for the production of buildings.

 Fashola faults housing deficit figure

 In the year under review, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde  Raji Fashola, queried the criteria used to arrive at the Nigeria’s 17million  housing deficit figure, saying that figure was not verifiable and accurate.

 He said: “ But before I continue, permit me to indulge those who spend their time on the debate about the size of the deficit and ask how educated and informed that debate is. Who conducted the census that produced the figures in the deficit?

 “Who verified the figures that now seem to trap many of our people in a vortex of difficulty? Does the deficit take into account the empty and unoccupied houses in every State of Nigeria?

FHA’s landmark achievements

In 2018, the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) recorded some landmark achievements, which included the plan to establish the Federal Housing Facility Management Agency (FHFMA) that would manage estates nationwide.

The Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Professor Mohammed Al-Amin, who announced this, remarked that the agency would see to the infrastructural development of federal housing estates and other housing estates in the country. 

In the same year, the agency acquired a 800-hectare of land for the construction of the Diaspora Estate in Abuja. The estate, which will be located in Maitama 11 area of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Blueprint learnt is designed for Nigerians in the Diaspora, the diplomatic corps and eminent Nigerians.

In the year under review, the agency also embarked on the construction of a 508-housing unit at Zuba, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at the cost of N6,260,033,044.89.

17 killed in Abuja, Port Harcourt building collapse

A total of 17 people lost their lives to building collapse between August and December, 2018.

In August,  two people lost their lives in collapsed building in Abuja, where more than 15 others were trapped.

The building located at Sector Centre B, was said to have been built in 1997 and later abandoned for more than 20 years before the owner decided to increase the number of floors of the already soaked building.

Also in September, a total of 15 people were killed at the site of the collapsed in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.

Experts have attributed the ugly incidents to the poor handling of the projects.

Non-commissioning of NHP

Aside from the building collapse, the non-commissioning of the National Housing Project, NHP, which was reportedly slated for last year was one of the low events in the housing sector for the year 2018.

The President Muhammadu Buhari-led government’s effort at addressing the huge housing deficit in Nigeria, which is estimated at 17 million, gave birth to the National Housing Programme.

Under the programme, the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, embarked on the construction of massive national housing scheme in 33 states of the federation.

The project, according to the Minister in charge of the ministry, Mr.

Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, aside from providing affordable and accessible houses for Nigerians, has also created employment opportunities.