Wamakko’s Quest For Real Estate Devt

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Updates on happenings

The buzz about turning the realty sector as a major revenue base of Nigeria’s economy, is yielding positive result through various products and services offered by Alhaji Aliyu Oroji Wamakko to both low and medium income earners. INTERVIEW BY CHIKA OKEKE.

We undertake consultancy services…

Jedo investment company limited is a premier indigenous registered company operating since 1996. We undertake consultancy services and contracts in real estate sector. We have been operating since the inception of the company and we thank God for the successes recorded so far.

NHP is a step forward in addressing housing deficit…

The National Housing Programme (NHP) is a welcome development because we have more than 17 million housing deficit as was revealed by the World bank. We believe the programme is a step forward in addressing the issue of housing deficit in Nigeria. I commend the federal government efforts for the initiative but the only thing I find difficult is the prices of the houses which are yet to be publicly announced. The infrastructure at the sites should reflect the cost of those houses so as not to derail the objectives of building for low income earners. If federal government will subsidise the cost of the houses, it will be a good step in the right direction.

The cost of houses should be affordable…

When we are talking about housing cost, we should first of all consider the plight of workers and civil servants as well as others in the public sector. If you examine their monthly income, its too poor to buy a house. Recently, labour targeted N30, 000 as minimum wage, however; the annual rental fees, food and clothing are the three priorities that should be considered first before salary increase. For instance, if somebody pays annual rent of N600, 000 to N700, 000 for a 2 bedroom flat, if you divide it into 12 months, that means his salary cannot offset the rental fee including other responsibilities like payment of school fees, clothing and other domestic issues. I believe the cost of houses should be affordable for low income earners and they should be given a long period to repay back. That will only serve as a subsidy depending on the fixed prices. The longer period of repayment should always be considered as an opportunity for low income earners to own a shelter.

The only way to prevent slum settlements…

Nobody will be satisfied with the sprawling slum settlements across the country. The slums are there naturally because housing deficit exist. The only way to prevent slum settlements which is a breeding area for miscreants and other negative societal vices is for government to provide decent and affordable houses for Nigerians.

You don’t just venture into any business…

Youths aspiring to own businesses should not be in a hurry because if you start a new business today, you should not expect to make profit tomorrow. Presently in Nigeria coupled with the economic downturn and other challenges in the business environment, they should expect at least six months before thinking of return on investment. Patience always pays and the choice of business also matters. You have to do a plan before venturing into any business. You don’t just go into any business that you are not conversant with because you will end up embarking on a risky venture.

The mischievous activities of some contractors can only be checked…

Both the professionals and government should be blamed for incessant building collapse. Also, the mischievous activities of contractors can only be checked by professionals like structural engineers, architects and among others. Government should also monitor the activities of realty experts and finance their activities so that they can eliminate the excesses of dubious contractors. For instance, if a contractor is supposed to use 12 inches rod but used 10 inches instead because of his selfish interest without considering the collateral damage it will cost in the future.

You don’t have to compromise …

If you are a professional, you must strictly adhere to the principles of your profession. You don’t have to compromise your professional standard of practice. Its stated in the development control approval plan that qualified engineers must supervise building projects.

We will continue to provide more houses…

Jedo investment limited has invested so much in the building sector by providing quality, standard and affordable houses. We advocate for low income houses and presently, Jedo investment has built over 250 houses that was given out through mortgages. We have an additional site in Lugbe where we built 200 houses and also sold via mortgage to Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) for National Housing Fund (NHF) contributors. We have equally partnered with PPP department department of Federal ministry of power, works & housing under Ministerial pilot housing scheme where we were able to provide 102 houses made up of 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms at Suleja, Niger state.

We are also collaborating with PPP department and FMBN to provide additional 108 houses in Kano state. We undertook the building of some social housing proposed by the ministry for their staffs. We are already in site and have built more than 56 houses which are at various level of completion. We are also partnering with other agencies to provide additional 250 houses in Sokoto state for low income earners. We have made much impact in the sector by reducing the number of housing deficit in the country. We will continue to provide more houses to low income earners at affordable price.

We have provided employment to more than 500 workers …

Jedo investment has other ventures like schools where we are providing quality education to the masses in Sokoto state. We have over 700 students from primary to secondary school who enrolled in our schools. The schools have good rating because for the past two years, our students recorded 100 percent success in GCE and NECO examinations. We offer affordable tuition fees that are paid instalmentally (three times) to ensure that civil servants and others who cannot afford prompt payment meet up with the fees.

We equally have Jedo security company that provide corporate services for government and the private sector. We have provided employment to more than 500 workers across our subsidiaries. The whole essence of businesses is to impact on people’s lives.

Quacks will be decimated if …

The issue of quacks will be decimated if government can strengthen the activities of engineers, builders and architects by funding them. If government fails to support them, they cannot perform their duties diligently and effectively.

The scheme is targeted at reducing the number of Nigerians living in slum…

I am excited with President Muhammadu Buhari led administration for initiating Family Homes Fund (FHF) housing scheme targeted at reducing the number of Nigerians living in slum settlements by providing them with affordable shelter. Through the project, they partnered with many state governors and developers like Jedo investment. Government has also provided enough funds through the Sovereign Wealth Fund, GIZ and federal ministry of finance for the success of the project. Their target is to create employment, provide at least 300, 000 to 500, 000 houses within a short period of time. The project is managed through the office of Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo. They are providing many services in the area of housing development and we are grateful to them. As a member of Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), they also partnered with the association to ensure that the cost of housing development in Nigeria is reduced so as to pull out many Nigerians from slums.

We find it difficult to recoup our investment…

Sometimes, we find it difficult to recoup our investment through NHF off takers. It takes time to approve and disburse the houses through mortgage. As FMBN is unveiling many innovations to improve its services for NHF contributors, we request that they enlighten the off takers who find it difficult to get acquainted with the modus operandi of the NHF scheme. Imagine a civil servant paying between N 1 million to N 3 million as equity to own a home. To raise equity, some people sell their farmlands and houses in the village. FMBN should exclusively enlighten the contributors on the pros and cons of the scheme so that they can meet up with their expectations.

I still create time for my family…

I have limited time for leisure but I remain grateful to God for everything. I still create time for my family though its difficult. If I’m not at the site on Saturday’s or Sunday’s, I will be in the office from Monday to Friday. Nevertheless, I still impact on my family.

There are more houses that are unoccupied…

You will discover that there are many houses that are unoccupied round the city of Abuja. We know that government initiated the collection of tenement rate but is it properly enforced? I think Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) should intervene so that tenement rate will be paid directly to them, instead of leaving it for local government alone who may not be able to collect such rates from the minister. Some people own more than 20 houses when they can only live in one at a time, yet fail to pay taxes on the property. Its only FIRS that can collect the rate perfectly and we advise government to hand over the collection of tenement rate to FIRS.

I am in support of taxation on completed and vacant houses because anybody who builds a house should be able to pay tax on the house.

We have a track record of honesty…

In Jedo investment company limited, our word is our bond. We have a track record of honesty, dedication and sincerity. We have impacted on the lives of people that collaborated with us especially the NHF contributors. To encourage them, we allow them make equity payment in piecemeal because we are committed to providing affordable shelter to Nigerians not just to make profit.

We are at the forefront of advocating…

At REDAN, we are at the forefront of advocating for the enactment of foreclosure law to enable investors recoup their investment. We also request that government should address issues militating against the development of the sector by providing intervention fund like it was done in the agriculture sector so that the interest rate on mortgages can be lowered drastically. When this is done, we can provide more houses at very affordable rate for low income earners.

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