Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: CMB Boss Raps Govt, Developers for Not Making Housing Affordable

Unless the enabling environment is created by government, adequate funding provided by the financial institutions and land made readily available to developers, the national housing deficit currently put at a staggering 17 million units, will continue to plague the country.

This view was canvassed in Lagos last week by the Managing Director of CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Co. Limited, Mr Kelechi Mbagwu.

Mbagwu who spoke to newsmen as part of activities to mark 10 years of the company's foray into real estate development, noted that the housing industry alone can generate economic boom for the country, if the various stakeholders play their parts well. He however regretted that the government (particularly the state governments) and some private developers are not serious about making housing affordable to the millions of Nigerians who need decent and affordable shelter.

"The truth is that the housing industry in Nigeria is not serious about making housing affordable. The Governments in Nigeria especially the state governments are not serious about making housing affordable. There are so many things that can be done that can cut the prices down drastically," he said, adding that the Land Use Act and the absence of a virile mortgage industry, are major drawbacks to housing development in the country. On the Land Use Act, Mr. Mbagwu declared: "We don't see the real use of the Act. It doesn't make sense and should be scrapped".

Speaking specifically on the achievements of the company, Mr. Mbagwu said CMB has within the 10 years of its operation, built over 1,000 units for both the middle and upper income segments of the society.

He unveiled plans to build three new estates in different parts of Lagos. The estates include 26 family living units which will come in a block of flats at Oniru Estate; 60 individual houses to be called Pearl Nuga Court at the Lekki Peninsula and 12 family living units at Ikeja GRA. The Ikeja GRA project which would be christened Pearl Grace Court, would cater for the upper income group. Another 20 units of terrace houses is also in the offing and would be sited at Surulere.

Further flaunting the achievements of the company, Mr. Mbagwu said CMB ranks amongst the first three private estate developers in the country. He was quick to point out that the sterling position occupied by the company, would not have been possible if other real estate developers are up and doing. "What is sacrosanct with us at CMB is that once we have a project, we hit the ground and start building. When you start work, financial institutions can now come in to support you," he said.

Also speaking at the briefing, the company's

According to him, the company which started operations with four part-time staff, today boasts of about 300 on its payroll.

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