…says Rotech’s set to work, achieve results

… bemoan harsh economic impact on housing industry

By Gabriel Ewepu, Abuja

AS most Nigerians lack access affordable and decent accommodation, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Rotech Energy Services Limited, Chief Austine Oguejiofor, Tuesday, said the private sector is willing and ready to assist the Federal Government bridge 20 million housing deficits.

However, Oguejiofor pointed the Federal Government should provide a secured and conducive business environment for it to happen.

Speaking on what his company is doing currently to provide decent and affordable houses in Anambra State, Abuja, and other places, he boasted that his company strictly adheres to standards, quality and ethics as far as construction and professionalism are concerned.

He said: “Bridging 20 million housing deficits is simple. The Federal Government should provide a secured and conducive business environment.

“As a man of international repute, we will use our business contacts to woo investors to invest in the building sector of the economy.

“I will encourage foreign investors to bring in their business community to invest in the country. Nigeria is a haven for any genuine investor because of its high population.

“I have easy accessibility to the world, to Europe, Far East, Middle East and other major African countries, from where investors will willingly invest in property in Nigeria.

“It is also important for the government to establish a viable mortgage system, because it will strengthen home ownership. For example, a mortgage system where rent payment will lead to owning a house.

“This system will afford the low income earners the opportunity of owning an apartment after many years of paying rent to the mortgage institution.

“From being a tenant, they become a landlord. Government should therefore come in to provide the enabling environment by encouraging mortgage.

“Government should as a matter of urgency consider public housing as a form of social responsibilities considering that the financial arrangement with the mortgage institutions may be beyond the reach of low income earners in Nigeria.

“Local building materials should be encouraged and also mass production of building material. This will make the materials to be affordable to the poor.

“I will also suggest that process of building plan approval and issuance of Certificate of Occupancy should be made faster and less cumbersome.

“The cumbersome property registration processes are major barriers to housing development and home-ownership, leading to the country’s huge housing deficit.”

Speaking on his company’s effort to make it easier to own a decent accommodation, he said, “Rotech is a company where professionals agreed to work to achieve results. You are working with specification and approval by development control and we don’t change even an iron during construction.

“Our building work is peculiar, now you will go to another site, they will have two designs, approve this, the day the authority or Development Control, DC, will come for inspection they will present this and they are going far below the expectations.

“We don’t compromise standard and quality. If you visit all our estates in Abuja, the nation’s capital will attest to what I am telling you and that is what marks the difference.

“Now you want to sell because of what you have put on ground but the other side of the game, your competitor is not selling at that rate maybe below because of lack of due diligence on part of Development Control, DC, the Standard Organization of Nigeria, SON, in charge of regulations of products and all those provisions.”

However, he ( Oguejiofor) expressed pain over current arsh economic impact on the housing industry.

“The current unfavourable economic situation is in no doubt taking its tow on the sector like other sectors of the economy. Mind you, this situation is not peculiar to Nigeria alone.

“Even in the developed economy, there are issues of dwindling economy here and there. This is impacting negatively on the housing sector and as such inflicting some hardship on players in the sector.

“But I’m confident we will get out of the doldrums very soon by the time measures are being put in place by the government to revolutionize the economy begin to yield results.. Don’t forget that government is the major player in our economy.

“Money circulates easily when government is spending. This could be in the area of awarding of contracts, especially in the construction and building sector.

“If the building sector becomes alive viable, so many employment opportunities will open up for job seekers.

“I think I will advise government to give serious attention to the building of massive housing because efforts in this direction will go a long way to navigate country from the current recession. This sector holds the key to economic recovery”, he stated.