By Jacinta Nwachuku/Uche Bibilari
U.S., China and Turkey are among the countries taking part at the ongoing 11th Abuja International Housing show which began in Abuja on Monday with the participation of manufacturers and dealers in building materials within and outside the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Housing show is an opportunity for both local and foreign manufacturers to exhibit latest technologies in the industry.
The show, which is the largest housing and construction event in Africa, has as its theme: “Solving Nigeria’s Housing Challenge through Innovative Finance and Infrastructure Solution.’’
Mr Festus Adebayo the organiser of the show, said 284 exhibitors are attending the event.
“We have 284 exhibitors present at the show, out of which we have ten different exhibitors from outside the country.
“The countries are USA, Turkey, India, China, London, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa among others,’’ Adebayo, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, FESADEB Communications Ltd. said.
He said that the event was an avenue to rub minds and exchange ideas as well as proffer lasting solutions to the problems of affordable housing in the country.
Adebayo said that the show was an opportunity of getting various stakeholders in the housing sector to come together and discuss possible ways of providing affordable housing for average Nigerians.
“There are lots of home seekers here, people are in need of houses and building materials, this is the best way I think we can touch lives, updating people on the present trend in building and educating people on how to own a house,’’ Adebayo said.
The convener said that they would ensure that all the policies and decisions reached were forwarded to the lawmakers for possible implementation.
He also said that the organisation was working on a bill that would help in the establishment of a property tax that would debar anybody from building and not renting it out.
“From the time of buying the land, the town planner will have an agreement with you on the time frame needed to move to site.
“A time frame should also be given when the building is completed on how long you will leave the house unoccupied and after that, tax will be charged on the building,’’ he said.
He said that these would help to solve the problem of unoccupied buildings, adding that nobody would want to build a house and pay heavy tax on them without getting anything in return.
One of the exhibitors, Ms. Beatrice Ezeocha, who is the Sales Representative, Nigeria Pipes Ltd., said the product was manufactured locally, and had been in the market since 1980, adding that they were durable.
“It is produced and sold in Nigeria, nothing like importation and we maintain quality, the product is very durable.
“It is a PVC pipe, it does not rust or get rotten and the prices vary depending on the thickness and size of the pipe. It is very affordable in production,’’ she said.
She called on developers to patronise locally manufactured product, saying that it would help in making the prices of houses affordable for the masses.
Another participant, Mr Francis Okumagba, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, I-Skill Knowledge Management, said that government at all levels should do the needful to enable Nigerians own houses.
Okumagba complained that the type of houses being built by developers were not the type that an average Nigerian could afford.
“In civilised environment, 70 per cent of the houses are apartments, 25 per cent are town houses, only five per cent are luxury homes.
“But in Nigeria, it is the opposite as 70 per cent of the houses we build are luxury apartments, bungalows and duplexes that an average Nigerian cannot afford,’’ he said.