A combination of factors may be responsible for the over 17 million housing deficit in the country, Uzoamaka Oshogwe, Chief Executive Officer, Afriland Properties PLC has said.

Oshogwe, who spoke exclusively with our correspondent on the sidelines of the company’s Annual General Meeting, lamented that the quest for affordable housing will continue to be a mirage unless the federal government make deliberate policies aimed at easing the already strangulated operating environment within the built and construction subsector.

According to her, the current 17 million housing deficit has been a challenge fueled in part by certain situations which she put at the doorsteps of the authorities.

Specifically, she said the issue of land use charge and other levies being required right from the point of procuring the land including other built-in cost has made cost of housing priced out of the reach many Nigerians.

“The federal government has dominion over the land as such if the cost of land procurement in terms of the fees and charges to perfect land documents keeps increasing as we have seen lately then it is almost impossible for us to have affordable housing,” she stressed.

While attempting a comparative analysis of the opportunities in the real estate market and other sectors, the Afriland boss said, “Real estate is very sustainable. It’s like talking about food, people will always crave for food. But the way you can work around it is by being strategic in your thinking and in your development as well. Like what we do here, we’re quite deliberate. Like I keep telling people the days when you build and they just come is long gone. Make sure what you’re putting out in the market, there is need for it. And you must work closely with your client that whatever you are building is in line with what they need. I’m deliberate about using need. It’s not just building anyhow. Our buildings must be functional and it’s not a time you just build big unlike the Nigeria of those days. Now, you’re more strategic.”

Taking a retrospective look at the performance of the company in the last 12 months, she said fortunes smiled on the company considering the fact that the world was still battling with the COVID-19 pandemic which slowed down things pretty much.

She is however optimistic that a change of guard come next year may have positive rippled effect on the sector and economy as a whole.