Nigerian government has been urged to start exploring local building materials as an effective way of reducing housing costs in the country.
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Giving this advice on Housing Development Advocacy Network of Nigeria (HDAN)’s social media platform, former President, Mortgage Bankers’ Association of Nigeria, Adeniyi Akinlusi, said this has become imperative following the current harsh economic situation in the country and high cost of imported building materials.
Talking about the necessary reforms required in the sector, he said “Another critical aspect is the issue of the cost of building. With the current economic situation, cost of building is increasingly becoming expensive.
“A lot of building materials are imported and if you factor that into housing, it becomes unaffordable.”
To make housing affordable and liveable, Adeniyi said that many policies would need to be domesticated, citing policy to address the issue of quality like the building code, which is begging for implementation.
According to him, another area of reform the government can tap into is the provision of social housing for those who are not financially buoyant.
“Rental housing is another area to look out for. Most people want a decent house and are not just concerned about owning the house,” he said.
He enjoined the National Assembly to support the new minister of housing and minister of state for housing in the areas of necessary reforms in the sector.
He pointed out the importance of Model Mortgage Foreclosure Law, which has been domesticated in certain states, but expressed concerns that many accommodation seekers have not be able to access housing.
“One would expect homeownership to be easier here in Abuja, the federal capital, but reverse is the case.
“Government is the biggest employer of labour, and it is bad that those who work with the government cannot buy a home and own it. This is not because they don’t have a Federal Mortgage Bank, but if the house cannot be mortgaged then the aim is defeated.
“Another aspect of the model mortgage foreclosure law is that it has a provision that every state must have its own law. We need the National Assembly to support this administration and the ministry,” the former MBAN president said.
Adeniyi is of the opinion that the issue of titling will be addressed for good now that the nation has an action minister of the Federal Capital Territory.
He said “Furthermore, the National Assembly must look at the recapitalisation of the Federal Mortgage Bank. This is because we cannot have a Federal Mortgage Bank with shareholders’ funds, which are eroded. It needs to be recapitalised for the role it is playing. There are quite a number of mortgage-related bills awaiting passage through the National Assembly.
“We also need to have the mortgage guarantee company come up to show support to the mortgage banking industry and even commercial banks so that if you give mortgages, the idea is that, if in the loan, there’s a default before you realise it, you can get liquidity from the mortgage guarantee company. This is very important in ensuring the mortgage system works effectively.
“A lot of laws need to be reviewed, not only National Housing Fund (NHF) laws, but laws guiding mortgage banks, and even the NHF structure itself. An area this government needs to look at is the area of reforms. If we put the right reforms on policy, then we provide an enabling environment to thrive and support what we need to achieve,” he said.
Adeniyi added that Nigeria would need to attract capital so that there could be enough money for housing, noting that a lot of money will have to come from private sources, both within and outside the country.
“We must reduce homelessness, and ensure people live in decent houses, as this will help reduce Japa syndrome ultimately,” he said.
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