By Franca Ofili
The Chief Executive Officer, Fesadeb Communications Ltd., Mr Festis Adebayo, has identified high mortgage interest rate as a major challenge facing the housing sector in the country.
Adebayo said in Abuja that at 59, the country was still at a double-digit interest rate.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the situation made it difficult for the citizens to access loans from mortgage banks.
Adebayo is the Convener of the just-concluded 13th Abuja International Housing Show.
”It is unfortunate that at 59, an ordinary citizen of Nigeria cannot walk into a mortgage bank and process a loan because the interest is still at double digits.
”At 59, mortgage banks can only be found in urban cities,” he said.
Adebayo said that from 1960 to date, governments had interventions geared toward addressing housing deficit, but they did not work.
He hailed the efforts of some leaders including the late Presidents Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar’Adua and former Gov. Lateef Jakande of Lagos State in housing development.
According to him, Shagari came up with a housing-for-all programme through building of low cost houses, while Yar’Adua made land use review, agenda of his administration.
He said that Jakande was reputable for provision of housing for many Lagos residents when he was a governor.
Adebayo said that the Federal Government needed political will to provide affordable housing.
He said that housing was important to job creation, productivity and good health.
He added that affordability of housing was important for the present government to properly fight corruption.
” Those who need houses cannot afford them and many of the houses built are for the rich.
”A civil servant who worked for 35 years cannot afford to buy a two-bedroom apartment in a good location in Abuja or Lagos,” he said.
Adebayo called on the relevant authorities and other stakeholders to collaborate to achieve affordable housing for Nigerians.
He said that the country must be creative to develop the sector which would in turn contribute to the county’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Adebayo said that the housing sector’s contribution to the GDP was only 10 per cent, adding that it could improve with political will. (NAN)