Affordable housing still a long way to go in Lagos, says report

A new report released by the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has revealed a shortfall in affordable and social housing provisions in Lagos State.

The report titled: Lagos State Engineering Index and Infrastructure Scorecard (LSEIISC) focus on critical areas of housing, environment, engineering, transportation, education infrastructures shows that despite applaud-able efforts of the state in providing housing, there is need to focus more on affordable housing and social housing sectors. It stated that housing maintenance was also a major gap that needs to be filled, stressing that the state needs a serious long-term strategy to ensure housing development enjoys its useful life and benefits.

The experts, housing is considered affordable when it’s appropriate for the needs of a range of very low to moderate income households and where family or an individual can afford for 30 per cent or less of their income.  It is estimated that over 12 million households in the state pay more than 50 per cent of their yearly income on housing. 

The maiden document endorsed by the chairmen of three branches namely; Ikeja, Olutosin Ogunmola; Victoria Island, John Audu and Apapa, Christian Ufot, in partnership with Global Property and Facilities International ltd (GPFI), led by its Group Managing Director, Dr. MKO Balogun.

The document noted increased focus on public private partnership and intervention for housing delivery by the State Government; however, it insisted on the need for a long-term strategy for maintenance of housing estates built by the government.

The 30-page report states “By 2030 it is estimated that 40 per cent of the world population will be without adequate housing, where sub-Saharan Africa will account for more than 70 per cent of that number. Nigeria being the largest in the region and Lagos, a major burgeoning mega city with high daily influx of new economic migrants will be affected the most in Nigeria. Does Lagos have or plans to have adequate housing for her teeming population now and in the next 10 years?”

“Over the years, maintenance of public infrastructure has always been a major challenge for Nigeria and Lagos is not left out. Most of the housing estates built by the government have become dilapidated due to lack of maintenance.”

The report maintained that rising demand, emerging middle class, rapid urbanisation and the level of infrastructure compared to other Nigerian states has kept land prices in Lagos high and amongst the most sought after prime land in Nigeria.

The preliminary report also expressed concerns on coastline pollution made, recommendation for urgent pollution Management, reducing the use of plastic products and chemical fertilizer, preference for reusable bottles and cutlery as well as reducing the Energy Use.

On engineering index, it stated that quality of engineering graduates from universities and polytechnic in Lagos was a major concern by the industries over the years adding the industries mostly complain of inadequate skills required especially up to date cutting edge technology, having low practical know-how and lack of confidence.

“Going by the quality of training acquired by graduates of Lagos state tertiary institutions in the area of engineering education, most of them are engaged in several re-training by the industries in order to build their skills for the fact that they are considered to be un-employable at the first intake level. The technological and industrial development of any state depends on its ability to develop its citizens towards human resources especially in the area of science and engineering.”

Presenting the report at a forum attended by a past president of NSE, Mr. Isaac Olorunfemi, the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Infrastructure, Rotimi Thomas and representative of Minister for Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and others, Ogunmola said as a global best practice, built environment professionals offer infrastructure indices and scorecards as enabling tools for planning and budgeting by critical stakeholders including governments and private sector investors.

According to him, as a way of building on the work already commenced in 2015 by the Nigerian Society of Engineers at the national level, the Ikeja branch finds the task as aligning with its vision of becoming a valuable partner to the Lagos State Government and with the position of Lagos State as the economic nerve center of the country, the report was indeed timely.

He added that a technical partner organisation was appointed to support in developing the framework for surveys, analysis and reporting with the preliminary report setting the tone for what to expect in the main report scheduled for publication in 2022.

Ogunmola said “ The report underscores the commitment of engineering professionals in Lagos State to take the lead in working with the State Government and the private Sector to grow the infrastructure stock and the engineering index of the State to meet the required levels that would support accelerated growth and development in the state.”

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