By Perpetua Onuegbu
The Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) has called on the Federal Government to allocate more funds to infrastructure to accelerate development across the country.
Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, president of the association and Chairman/Chief Executive, Jedo Investments Company Limited made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
According to Wamakko, though the government has increased the stock of infrastructure across the country, there still exists a lot of gaps to be covered.
Wamakko said: “With regards to infrastructure, slicing the budget for the ministry of works, I believe is not the best even though this government has tried the best it can on the aspect of infrastructural development.
“In infrastructural development, let’s talk about roads, railways, seaports and airports, all these things are something that you consider because transport is one of the major factors that shows the economic viability of a country.”
Wamakko also said that there won’t be any meaningful development without a good network of roads to facilitate movement of goods and services.
“If there is no transportation network nothing goes correct. For instance, if the government provides food items, it will have to be transported.
“If there is no road, bringing them would be a problem, if you take onions from North to the East, before getting to the East, if the road is not good, it will spoil, so the infrastructure is needed.
“Yes, we applaud the efforts of the present administration, but we call on them with the incoming administration to do more in the aspect of infrastructure.”
On housing, the REDAN president urged the government to release any budgeted funds for housing to the private developers so as to bridge the housing gap.
“In the housing deficit, Nigeria is representing 40 per cent of the housing deficit of Africa.
“Because of problems like insurgency and banditry, a lot of people have migrated from their rural settlements to urban areas, some of them are living in primary schools because there is no place to stay.
“We are calling on the government at all levels to ensure that any budgetary provisions for housing should go to the private sector,” Wamakko said.
The REDAN president said this was because the sector has been thriving for long and had been achieving successes.
He said, ”the private sector has been at the supply end of the Federal Mortgage Bank and other mortgage institutions for the aspect of assisting the Nigerian workers and Nigerians own their houses.
“Money that has been budgeted should go at a single digit interest to private developers, who will in turn provide these houses, create employment, pay interests, and also pay taxes on their corporate companies.
“This is what I think is ideal in the aspect of reducing the housing deficit in the country, because the government cannot do it alone, there is nowhere the government has been asked to provide houses for all the citizens.
“All they need to do is to give out this money they budgeted for building houses to private developers at a single digit interest of 9 to 10 per cent.
“The government will benefit from the interest charges from the private developers, houses that are being provided, employment creation and regeneration of the economy which would culminate in the increase in GDP of the country.” (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Deborah Coker/Bashir Rabe Mani