…Wins brand award back-to-back
The Rivers State government has rolled out 20,000 low-cost housing scheme to be built by a partner but the Mayor of Housing, My-ACE China, has revealed how this can be pushed to 200,000 within the same period.
Reacting after winning the award as the Property Personality of the Year and Brand of the year at DMOMA Awards in Port Harcourt, the Mayor of Housing said the Governor Sim Fubara administration just announced 20,000 houses to be built, but observed that when the environment is made better with ease of doing business, ease of certificate of occupancy, ease of security, and ease of taxes and incentives, with the powers that be doing the right thing, that investors would build 10 times more, 200,000 within same period.
“The moment these three factors are in place, the location or the sector will witness a boom,” he said.
He also said that he was highly excited, and he reminded people how he was first to commend the governor on unveiling social housing policy in May 2023.
“We have been curiously and eagerly waiting for how it would be implemented. The houses are important but the model or process to the accessibility of the houses is even more important. There is need to see behind the housing scheme a self-auditing, self-sustaining and self-duplicating and fool-proof system to people to have access these houses. If the process has these mechanisms, the administration would know that it has not only provided houses but it has created a system to continually provide houses in the state. It would start a chain reaction of houses from the private sector. I am eagerly awaiting and I am elated,” he said.
On which is better and more critical, the government to directly build houses or to create the enabling environment in the housing sector such as ease of land papers (certificate of occupancy), access roads, amenities, he said direct building of houses by government has never worked.
“This one is not government building houses directly. What I am excited about is the public private partnership (PPP) approach Governor Sim Fubara has used. Even the PPP is not enough. The greatest booster to solving the 28 million housing deficit in Nigeria is an enabling environment in the sector.
“In fact, the way President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is going around the globe looking for investors, it shows that the government leaders do not know that we have a large army of investors already in the country. These home-based investors face huge huddles in most of the sectors including in housing. You will not imagine the setbacks and bureaucratic bottlenecks we face in starting a construction effort. Most times, those huddles lead to higher costs for the eventual houses because every huddle you overcome costs you more money and you have to recover the cost.
“When the ease of doing business (EODB), ease of documentation, ease of layout, ease of allocation, and tax incentives are given to well-known developers like us, believe you me, the result will be nothing short of a boom in the property and housing sector.
“We (The Construction & Housing Mayor Limited) are an example of those people managing to crawl against the tide, when the government turns the tide in our favour, we will not only fly, we will do wonders.”
On the import of the award to him, he said: “This award means so much to me because DMOMA is a brand I have followed over the years. There are a lot of groups peddling awards, but DMOMA is different. I found it out last year when I won Brand of The Year Award. I was pitched against global and major brands, but because I was found to have delivered more value that year than any other, I won it. That was when I began to suspect that these guys are credible. So, when they called me this year again that I have been voted in again by their followers, I was super excited because it is one award, I don’t mind winning every year. They do due diligence well to give award.
“In life, whatever you reward, you cause to happen again. Whatever you overlook, you make it diminish.”
On winning two awards in two years and difference between the two, he said the person behind the brand determines the quality of the brand. “Ultimately, every business venture in the world would rise and fall on the personality of the personnel controlling it. It was Mary Kay that said every company is as strong as the personnel behind it.
“Last year, they dug deep and discovered the brand, which is the Mayor of Housing. This year, they dug deeper and discovered the personality behind the brand, thus ‘The Personality of the Year Award’. It is only coincidental that the brand won again and the personality also won this year, showing that there is something unique about both the brand, Mayor of Housing, and the personality behind it, My-ACE China. That means what we are doing is right, we are getting it right.”
Speaking on what to expect in the housing subsector in PH, he said there is only one promise he made.
“What you see at the moment is brand perception. We have so far been projecting an image to Port Harcourt people. By the first quarter of 2024, we are starting to showcase our brand experience. We are one of real estate companies in Nigeria that play at both the top and bottom of the value chain. There is a new Banana Island coming up in Port Harcourt, and our mission is to cut short and completely eradicate the Lagos versus Port Harcourt dichotomy in quality and excellence.
“I won’t lie to you, doing business in Port Harcourt is not easy because actually the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in Lagos and Abuja is far better, but we are going to show those people running away from Port Harcourt that there is something good here. We want to show that they will run back here, and that would be when we have far exceeded and succeeded.
“We are starting a luxury estate. The men standing here on the podium are board members in our venture at Alesa in Eleme called the Alesa Highlands. We are also going to launch our low-cost housing estate later. What makes us unique is that we do not do ‘copy and paste’. When we say low-cost housing, we mean we have done research that will make the construction actually low-cost. By March 2024, the actual brand experience will begin.”
Chief convener of the DMOM Awards: Chidiebere Stephen Okoye said the awards were created to spur those doing good in Nigeria with emphasis on the South-South & South East. He said it was to attract attention to this zone, though winners come from anywhere in the world.
The Mayor of Port Harcourt, Allwell Ihunda, who also received an award, said he saw value in DMOMA award series and that it showed PH was growing.