Experts seek implementation of N15trn infrastructure fund to bridge housing deficit

In a bid to ease the drive to reduce the huge housing deficit, experts in the real estate sector have called on the federal government to implement the infrastructure fund.

Last month in October, the federal government selected four asset managers to run the N15 trillion ($37 billion) fund for the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria Limited (Infra-Co) which is set up to drive investment in roads, railways and power projects in Nigeria.

At this year’s edition of the West Africa Property Investment Summit, themed: “Property Market Redefined” held in Lagos, one of the panelists and the CEO, Purple, Mr. Laide Agboola, said the fund will help local investors to discharge their duties.

“The executive order is a good one but the biggest is execution and implementation,” he said.

Noting on what will drive the industry in 2022, he posited that as Fintech has changed the face of doing transactions in the business world so also will the property industry introduce what he called “protech”, saying it is a way to solve the housing deficit leveraging on technology.

“For us going into the future, like I mentioned, brick, mortar and cloud. What we’re going to do is honestly to try to solve the problem of the housing deficit or actually try to ensure that everybody can partake in fractionalization and tokenization of real estate across the entire product line of USA from housing, from residential to commercial developments, and we’ll be making that announcement first quarter of next year.

“What we find as the most critical that would be the largest play is technology; Proptech and for us, that is where we are sitting on currently,” he said.

Another panelist and CEO, Dutum Construction, Mr. Temitope Runsewe lamented that there has been huge capital flight owing to the award of construction projects to foreign companies, saying it is not favorable to the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

Runsewe added that funding is critical to the progress of local construction providers so as to deliver quality jobs, thereby calling on the federal government to support them.

“We are one of the local ingenious construction service providers. It is important that we receive the support of the government so that we grow and that support is providing us a platform, giving us opportunities and providing funding that make us compete.

“Because if we are not able to compete with the foreign company, how do we grow and the foreign companies come with cheap funding at 0.1 percent while we as local constructor service providers either cannot get the fund and when we do get, it is 30 percent above per annum, you can see that it a struggle to compete. So it has to be deliberate because our job has a ripple effect on GDP because when you do the local Construction for a project the money stays here. So the money gets recycled and that results in GDP growth.”

“So when you give the biggest project to the foreign companies, they do their bit and take the money out and we are having capital flight and that is the challenge,” he said.

Seun Eyitayo of Landwey, said, “At Landwey, I don’t think we are redefining per say, we are more like responding to the perceived needs of the people. Shelter is something that is a constant need, as long as there is a population increase, there is always going to be a need for homes and real estate, so what we are doing is being innovative and becoming available products that we have seen that the housing needs of people are changing people are moving from mighty houses to smaller homes, we are responding to that and making products available.”

On his part,  the Group CEO, Alpha Mead Group, Femi Akintunde, said the real estate sector is faced with so many challenges that must be solved with collective efforts.

He stated that the real estate space cannot be redefined if demand and supply are not on the same level. He further stressed the need for people to have houses before retirement including pensioners.

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