Why FG should regulate housing sector – Onigbinde

Mr. Benjamin Onigbinde is a Real Estate Economist / CEO of Sigvent Property Trust Limited, an Abuja-based housing firm. In this interview with TOPE SUNDAY, he calls for total regulation of the country’s housing sector, among other issues.

Previously, you have kicked against the housing deficit figures in the country. Do you still hold the view?

That’s where I’m coming to, without reliable and adequate statistics no policy can work effectively. This issue of data in the housing sector has generated a lot of conflicts in the recent past. The immediate minister of Housing, Babatunde Fashola raised concerns about the inadequate data on the housing deficits. Is it N17m or N22m? If this is not resolved, there cannot be any meaningful progress no matter the level of zeal by President Bola Tinubu.

Do you think the merging of housing agencies will solve this problem of data collection in the sector?

Not, the issue of the merger of housing agencies can reduce wastage and bottlenecks in the housing administration, but I do not believe it will resolve the housing problem significantly. There should be an overhaul of the federal government housing Policy with a focus on low-cost housing development technology and finance.

What type of housing technology are you suggesting as a new game changer?

The consistent increase in the cost of cement and other building materials is a big challenge or problem of affordable or low-cost housing development. There are options, such as clay bricks and compressed earth bricks. We could also adopt the old technology of blending wood with bricks. Some of the old houses made use of planks for staircases. Also, there is an emerging bamboo building technology, and I think more commitment is needed to develop cheaper and quality new housing technology.

What about the challenges of uncompleted houses all over the place?

This is very common in Abuja, but not only peculiar to this place or on private developers’ projects. There are uncompleted housing estates neglected by both the federal and state governments. If these housing projects can be completed it will add to the available stocks of houses in no small measure. The new administration needs to recapitalize the housing agencies.

What’s your company doing to add value to the real estate market?

As an emerging real estate company with just a few years in the market, we are taking a lifestyle approach to housing development building affordable housing across city corridors employing Compress Earth Bricks Technology that reduces construction cost by up to 40%.

What is your message to the administration of President Tinubu?

The new administration should start regulating the real estate market to ensure professionals are in charge of the housing market. Just like we have Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Agencies. The government should also employ a bottom–up approach to housing development, each Local Government should encourage investment in affordable housing development.