Public-Private Partnership panacea to housing, infrastructure shortfall- Expert

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By Lilian Okoro
A real estate consultant, Mr Samuel Ukpong, on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to provide the frameworks that would make Public-Private Partnership (PPP) strive in the building and construction sector.

Ukpong, a former Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Lagos Chapter, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He said that the country needs effective PPP scheme to be free from the housing/infrastructure challenges.

Ukpong said that the few private companies and individuals into the property sector have not been able to perform much because they were not encouraged by the government through a viable PPP programme.

According to him, effective operation of PPP scheme in the building and constructions industry will go a long way to reduce cost of houses, provide affordable accommodations and address the issue of accommodation.

Ukpong said that for PPP to make significant impact in addressing the housing/infrastructure needs, government should make accessibility to land easy, provide viable mortgage system and encourage researches on local building materials.

He stressed the need to back the PPP scheme with some legal frameworks to authenticate the agreement, such that none of the involved parties could breach the agreement.

“The major obstacle to success of PPP scheme is breaching of the contractual agreements.

“The government sometimes failed to fulfill their own part of the PPP agreement, which have discouraged many private organisations from partaking in the scheme.

“The government must provide the enabling environment to facilitate success of PPP because private companies/individuals are not charity organisations,” Ukpong said.

He suggested that government should provide credit facilities and grant incentives like import duty waivers and tax holidays to private developers to encourage sustenance of their operations.

Ukpong said that if government could provide all the necessary facilities, it would behoove on the private sector to provide the technical know-how of how the PPP would work.

“Actually, the government or the private sector alone cannot solve the housing problem. It can only be solved through a collective partnership of both parties.

“That is why it becomes imperative for the scheme to be more effective such that it will impact on the economy as it is done in other countries,” he added. (NAN)

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