The daunting challenges of access to cheap accommodation and mortgage finance will be a thing of the past if the government stays to its plans. DAYO AYEYEMI and DUKE AIGBOJE report
It is no longer news that Nigeria has 17 million housing deficit and would require building 740,000 units annually for the next 20 years to bridge the gap. What is however, news is about efforts of all tiers of the government and stakeholders to nip the challenges of accommodation among low-income Nigerians in the bud.
Demonstrating the political will to tackle the problem head-on, the Federal Government has been introducing different programmes ranging from National Housing Fund (NHF), Family Housing Fund to Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme as well as the newly initiated Nigeria Housing Fund Programme (NHFP) – all aimed at dousing tension in housing finance and affordability among citizens.
The Family Housing Fund is a programme under Federal Government’s Social Investment Fund in which N100 billion has been set aside.
The World Bank and the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) are contributors to the fund. From this fund, developers of real estate for social housing can borrow 80 per cent of cost of project and counter fund with 20 per cent.
The latest in the series is the newly launched “My Own Home Scheme” under the Project Administration Team of the Nigeria Housing Finance Program (NHFP) in Abuja and Lagos.
With the Lagos edition unveiled, Nigerians aspiring to own houses can now heave a sigh of relief as key stakeholders in the mortgage finance industry such as representatives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria and NPF Micro Finance Bank took time to explain benefits of the scheme.
NHFP is a Federal Government scheme that is being coordinated by the CBN to ensure access to housing finance by those said to be qualified to own houses.
It is different from the NHF, given the market-driven concept, which is based on public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement designed to enhance a sustained access to housing finance development for all categories of people.
Justifying the essence of the programme in Lagos, Housing/Mortgage Finance Consultant to the CBN on the project, Mrs. AdenikeFasanya-Osilaja, said the initiative was in collaboration with the Federal Government, World Bank and Mortgage Banks Association of Nigeria (MBAN) with other relevant stakeholders to ensure that issues of housing finance are addressed.
With the low condition of housing finance, she said both civil servants and those in the private sector needed to be properly guided on the best approach to accessing mortgages.
She said the NHFP will create the enabling environment for strengthening the Nigerian housing sector by setting up sustainable framework for mortgage originators.
This, she said, ranged from financial institutions that provide housing finance to access long-term refinancing, adding that the framework would lead to setting up of mortgage guarantee/insurance as well as a housing microfinance scheme for strengthening of Nigeria’s housing microfinance sector.
Besides, she said, “intending house owners are advised to shop around to compare rates before taking out a mortgage or housing finance loan.”
Deputy Director, Other Financial Institutions Supervision (OFIS) of the CBN and a Director in NHFP, Adesemoye Adedeji , pointed out that to ensure its accessibility and effectiveness, nine microfinance banks (MFBs) would be participating in the scheme, which is funded with $300 million
He explained that the arrangement would capitalise mortgage guarantee and insurance with $15 million for the pilot housing microfinance.
He said: “This money is with the CBN for proper monitoring and execution than just disbursing it to wrong channel that can’t afford to handle the project.”
Fasanya-Osilaja said that the NHFP intervention would include a mass literacy campaign on consumer education, protection and responsibility with regard to housing finance in Nigeria.
She said: “The campaign is aimed at educating every Nigerian on the right to own a home, the cost implications, advantages of taking loans to finance a home and to ultimately serve as a catalytic programme to jumpstart the housing market in Nigeria.”
President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria (MBAN), Mr.Niyi Akinlusi, said, My Own Home” scheme was a departure from other housing schemes in Nigeria.”
Akinlusi, who is also the Managing Director of Trust Bank Mortgage, said that NHFP had set up a framework that will revamp the housing finance sector by making access finance a lot easier through its four major components, which include: “The Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company, whose task is to provide long-term refinancing of mortgages and standardizing mortgage procedures; Mortgage Guarantee/Insurance Scheme, which is responsible for providing borrowers with insufficient or not equity contribution (initial down payment) with mortgage for home ownership.
“The Housing Microfinance Scheme is meant to stimulate increased lending to low-income earners in the formal and informal sectors in Nigeria through Microfinance Banks for incremental housing construction or housing improvement; and finally, the technical assistance for the scheme shall ensure the protection of all the parties involved in the scheme.”
Under the current initiative, there is need for full implementation of the scheme to increase home ownership in the country through mortgage finance.
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