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'PROPOSED N200BN REAL ESTATE LIFELINE TOO LITTLE'

By NBF News

A real estate expert and Chairman, Resort Savings and Loans Limited, Mr. Joe Idulu, has said that the N200bn demanded by the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria as bail-out for the sector is too little to make any significant improvement on housing provision.

In an interview with our correspondent on Tuesday, shortly after the company's fourth Annual General Meeting in Lagos, Idulu said, however, that the fund would be useful for creating a new pedestal for housing development in the country.

REDAN had in June urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to immediately approve and release a N200bn economic stimulus package for the housing sector.

The package, the body said, must be given as soft loans to genuine developers instead of them sourcing money from the open market for housing development, and should be managed by REDAN.

Idulu said, 'The property sector is very heavy on capital and therefore, REDAN's asking for N200bn is in the right path, but that amount is even very small to solve the housing deficiency in the country today.

'I am very sure that you know that as at today, Nigeria's housing shortage is over 15 million units. If you divide N200bn by that, you will see that the amount can hardly give one room for each unit.'

Idulu added, 'However, it will be good if that N200bn is provided now as it will be like a backgrounder on which the sector can further develop. Housing development takes time and a lot of money.

'It is not a product that you throw money on and get result tomorrow. You must first acquire land, do the survey and the plans, before you think of laying the foundation and then after, building the house.'

He, however, noted that the property sector had gained ground and was now recognised as not just an emerging, but a viable sector.

'Earlier, especially after independence, it was not recognised as a sector of its own. But today, with the support of bodies of experts such as the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers and other stakeholders, including the media, especially the print media, the property sector is now well appreciated and well recognised in the economic affairs of the nation,' he said.

Idulu, who agreed that the recapitalisation of institutions in the sub-sector was delayed, said his mortgage bank was able to achieve success because it was able to recapitalise as at the time it was coming into the property market.

Resort Savings and Loans is a fully owned subsidiary of Resort Developers Limited, and owns and manages choice properties in Victoria Island, Lekki, Abuja, Ikeja GRA, Adamawa State, in the Mowe/Ofada axis of Ogun State.

Idulu said the inability to recapitalise Primary Mortgage Institutions in the country was also causing delay in housing delivery.

'You have to grow the money so that you can target the market at the right time,' he added.