By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
A real estate developer and Managing Director of Aerofield Homes Limited, Mr. Armstrong Akintunde has blamed building collapse on corrupt government officials and developers who have failed to ensure standardization of building in the country.
Akintunde who doubled as executive director on special projects at Suru Group Limited beckoned on the government to embrace Private-Public Partnership (PPP) in solving the bitter problem of housing deficit among 20 million Nigerians.
He expressed that many developers across the country are willing to join forces with the government to provide a decent place of abode for its citizens.
Akintunde made his submissions while speaking with our correspondent over the rampant problem of building collapse as well as how the government can furtherance its game in overcoming an acute shortage of housing for its citizens, among others.
The real estate expert said, “the blame on incessant building collapse should be put at the doorsteps of government officials who will rather look the other way than enforcing standards because their palms have been greased are ready to settle them.
“There had been reported cases of building approval done in the offices without the officials charged with such responsibility visiting the construction sites relying solely on the information supplied by the builders.
“The developers too are also not helping matters with their selfishness and sharp practices. Some will want to use materials meant for one building for two.
“There is also problem of reports abound of many potential homeowners employing quacks who only work on trial and errors instead of professional and seasoned builders with relevant years of experience.
“As long as standards are compromised and supervising authority are lackadaisical, collapse building experience will continue”.
Speaking on how the government can overcome its housing deficit to the tune of 20 million people, Akintunde said that with very poor disposable income and skyrocketing prices of building materials, many Nigerians find it difficult to have a decent home.
He said, “to overcome these challenges, the government must deliberately make it a policy to increase its support for private developers by way of reducing the prices of land, help eliminate the problem of land grabbers, granting of waivers on payment of Certificates of Occupancy, crashing the ever-increasing cost of building materials as well as an outright partnership with proven real estate companies to build estates and satellite towns for the people at a highly subsidized price”.
Akintunde explained that it is still possible for the government to achieve Low-Cost Housing in Nigerians as long as government would quit rhetoric and be committed to a well laid out, conscientious and concerted efforts tailored towards replicating low-cost housing of the early 80s.
He disclosed that “the plans of governments desirous of low-cost housing project must put into consideration the activities and the contributions of professionals and artisans in building, as well as manufacturers, dealers of building materials.
Speaking on some of the challenges confronting operators of real estate in the country, Akintunde, an Agronomy graduate of Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), Abeokuta before veering into real estate, highlighted lack of government support, poor infrastructure and access to capital confronting the sector.
The former student activist said, “Most restricting is the inadequacy of funds and lack of access to capital. Indeed, most of the other problems could easily be resolved with sufficient finance.
“Our financial institutions typically wait for entrepreneurs to become successful before they take any serious interest in their businesses, it doesn’t matter how creative and innovative they are, these entrepreneurs often cannot meet the strict credit risk acceptance criteria of these banks”.