•Real Estate Player, Alhaji BASHIR JIMOH
Alhaji Bashir Jimoh is the MD/CEO, Bashmoh Homes, a popular real estate company in Lagos. He floated the company about 9 years ago to bridge the deficit in the housing sector.
Amongst other things, the company is into estate development, mortgage advisory, building engineering and consultation, property leasing and letting, and general land consultation.
The former banker, a few days ago, spoke with City People’s ISAAC ABIMBADE (08155107955) about this year’s elections and the impact it will have on real estate. He also spoke on the new CBN cashless policy and how it will affect the real estate sector and many other issues. Enjoy the excerpts below.
How is the new CBN withdrawal policy going to affect the real estate sector?
It’s going to affect the real estate sub-sector slightly negatively, because there would be restrictions on the movement of funds. Let me give you an instance: when you want to pay workers and most of them are not staff. These are casual workers who work a day or two and they need payment to send to their families and you can’t receive more than a certain amount of money. If you do check-in at one of your sites where you have 25 to 50 people as employees and the expectation is that you will pay them over a million naira a day. Definitely, it will affect the real estate companies and it’s going to affect the immediate delivery of houses. However, this kind of regulation to track transaction is long overdue in Nigeria. This could impact the economy positively in the long run and eventually increase real estate delivery if the economy is buoyant.
How will the forthcoming elections affect the real estate sector?
Election and electioneering campaigns, generally, all over the world, affect the economy negatively. And Nigeria is not an exception. The election here always slows down the economy. The same will happen in 2023. The movement will be slow. Businesses will be slow. Nigerians will want to wait and see who will be in charge. They will like to see the new policy and economic direction. They would wait to see who will be at the helm of affairs and it’s started already. If you look at what happened in November, December, and early part of January in oil and gas, the major players are afraid if the incoming government will pay subsidies or not. The same thing is happening in real estate. As of today, a bag of cement is 4, 850 naira when compared to the 4, 500 naira it used to be sold for. The fact remains that the economy will slow down. There won’t be vast investments in the real estate sector. Housing delivery will be slow. However, it may eventually pick up if the investors are clear about what will be the strategic focus of the new government.
Do you see the new 4th Mainland Bridge, that will take off in a few weeks, affecting the real estate industry in the Lekki/Ajah/Epe corridors?
The impact of this 4th Mainland Bridge could be viewed in two directions: the overall effect is that, it is going to be humongously positive to real estate, to the economy of Lagos State, to Lagosians and by extension, to Nigeria.
All over the world, governments are creating new cities. And that new bridge will shift the attention of so many people to Epe/ Agbowa axis and those places will be highly regulated by the government and this will be a completely new city. It will be a diversion from the Lekki/Epe axis from the known Ikoyi/Lekki axis. It’s like creating an entirely new city. This 4th Mainland Bridge is situated along the axis of the new airport in Epe. The new one I’m told has about five “fingers”. This development will increase housing delivery in that area.
Have you been able to position yourself in all of these sir?
We understand the policy direction of the economy and some of us have studied the World Bank Report on the Nigerian economy and I know from experience, it’s plus 10 or minus 10 the outcome of economy performance and the report of the World Bank. We are concentrating more on commercial properties this year. We want to invest more in stores, malls abattoirs, hostels, etc. That’s our strategic focus for the year because we know that commercial property will do more this year when compared to other property investments. Housing delivery has always been our focus. I can tell you that in 2023, 2024, agency renting, and agency leasing will take premium over purchase of houses in Lagos.
What is your advice to those who want to invest in real estate, especially newcomers?
For newcomers who want to invest in real estate in Nigeria, three things are very key. First, the market in Nigeria now is still broad, regardless of forex. You should also know that Nigeria has the highest profitability return on real estate investment.
The disparity of foreign exchange in Nigeria when compared to the government exchange rate still has certain elements of profit if the property is located where people can live now.
What is the future of real estate in Nigeria??
The future of real estate is bright in Nigeria because the World Economy Forum said by 2032 to 2035, Nigeria will have 250 million people. What that means is creating an additional 50 million units. As we speak, we have about 11 to 12 million housing deficits. If you add the 50 million people that will come in 2032, you can do the arithmetic yourself.
You earlier spoke on the CBN policy, is that going to affect the operations of some real estate companies?
At the GIABA conference where African leaders met and discussed with real estate players, we discussed about money laundering and terrorism in financing. The level of cash movement in real estate in Nigeria is very high and there is no sane government that will allow that to continue. So whether we like it or not, it will affect many real estate firms negatively, unless we begin to imbibe the spirit of converting our operations to what is obtainable in other climes.