The Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria has said the government’s involvement in the housing sector will not provide a lasting solution to the challenges facing it.

This is as the association canvassed for a business-enabling environment to assist private investors to access funds with low-interest rates and make shelter available and affordable for the masses.

President and Chairman of the Council of REDAN, Aliyu Wamakko, made the assertion when he spoke exclusively with the PUNCH.

He said,” We believe the government has no business with building houses because if the government is doing so, we are making a socialist republic.

“Presently, the government can’t build houses and give citizens free of charge. I don’t think it is obtainable in Nigeria today. However, it is the responsibility of the government to provide enabling environment for the provision of houses to Nigerians and that can only be done whether the government at all levels will try to budget for the provisions of houses.

“The budgeted amount should be channelled to the private sector because any meaningful economy in the aspect of construction must be private sector-driven and on this, we are expecting that all the money that is being budgeted should go to the private sector at a single-digit interest rate so that we will be able to provide these low-cost homes for Nigerians, create employment and rejuvenate the economy from the grassroots.”

Wamakko, who expressed his worry over the increasing cost of construction items, said it was impossible to borrow money from banks at 30 per cent interest rate and expect the houses to be cheap.

He also noted that 40 per cent of Africa’s housing deficit had its base in Nigeria, noting that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had failed woefully on his campaign promise to deliver one million housing units per year.

“You can’t go to the bank to borrow money at 30 per cent interest rate and you come out to build a house and expect it to be affordable. It is not possible.

“What I want Nigerians to know is that the present atmosphere is not conducive enough for the real estate market because of the political turmoil that is in the country, coupled with the current inflation, dollar rate and price hike of products, it is not a good time for us in the housing market.

“The present government, when it came into power, said during campaigns that a million houses will be built per year. That is what they promised but very unfortunate that they have built 10,700 houses which have not been completed,” he said.