By Zika Bobby
Managing Director of Daniel-Bob Nigeria Limited, Daniel Orji has said his company is determined to help address housing shortage in Nigeria by ensuring the completion of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) Housing Estate Project.
Orji said sustained increase in the prices of building materials in Nigeria was a major factor responsible for shortage in housing supply adding that the ugly trend had led many developers both private and commercial to abandon their sites.
He said most mortgage housing schemes in Nigeria had either been abandoned or suspended because of the variation in cost estimate as a result of increase in the price of building materials.
He called on the government to subsidise building materials if it intends to achieve its objective of massive housing for Nigerians.
According to him, it is difficult for people to build now, with the prices of cement and rods, it is almost impossible for the normal worker to build and own a house, that is why the cost of renting an apartment is high.
“For us in the building industry, we did our estimate at N2,200 per bag of cement but it is between N4,600 and N4,800, the same thing goes for iron rod, for instance 12mm was N1,800 when we started but now it is N4,200.
“A trip of 30tons granite was 180,000, now we buy it for N300,000; a trip of sand that was the. N12,000 is now N35,000 while a piece of block that was N140 is now N300.
“For masons, we used to pay them N4,000 per day but it is now N6,000.
“So, it is clear that there is a problem in the housing sector, government must come in and save the situation by coming up with measures to control and reduce the cost of building materials.
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“For us at Daniel Bob, we are ensuring that we deliver our promise to build a functional estate for Resident Doctors, that is why work is going on steadily,” he said.
Orji however said that the NARD Housing Estate being handled by his company was progressing in spite of the challenge to the integrity of the company.
He expressed fears that both commercial and private builders may abandon their company if the federal government does not intervene and check inflation in building materials.
Orji said Federal Government should grant waiver on building materials, expand the scope of supply of cement and activate Ajaokuta Steel Mill to encourage local sourcing of iron rods
“It is impossible for the average worker who earns between N80,000 and N150,000 monthly to build and own a decent house at the prices of materials, this is what is putting pressure on the existing accommodation and causing hike in rent prices.
“Now we rely on one company for cement, the supply of cement should be increased, people should be able to have options and our Steel Mill should be made functional ,” he said.
According to Dr Uyilawa Okhuaibesuyi, the immediate past president of NARD, who spoke at the groundbreaking last year, the housing scheme was in partnership with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and Daniel-Bob Nigeria Ltd.
He said about 4,000 members across the country were target to help own their houses through the mortgage system adding that it would check the continued brain drain in the health sector.
The houses would be in four variants including 3-bedroom terrace, 3-bedroom semi detached duplex, 4- bedroom semi detached and 4-bedroom fully detached all with boys quarters, the area measuring about 15 hectares.