By Yinka Kolawole
The federal government is set to reposition and strengthen the operations of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to enable it play a more vital role in the mortgage industry.
Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Nduese Essien, dropped the hint recently, in Lagos, at a dinner with members of theÂ Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), amidst calls by the association that the government enlarge the board of FMBN to accommodate relevant stakeholders.
Essien said that some of the problems bedeviling the apex mortgage bank have already been identified, noting that this is part of efforts by the government to facilitate the development of mass housing in the country, adding that locations have been identified in 18 states where land would be provided as part of its contribution through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to facilitate early delivery on its mandate of affordable housing.
Essien declared that real estate is at the epicentre of the worldâ€™s economy and the environment, as well as the global march towards urbanization. He urged the developers to brace themselves up with firm structures to address core financial and management competencies, and seek to understand allied fields, such as law, construction, politics, architecture and urbanism.
â€œYou must offer the public clear information in the areas of land use and public approvals, physical development, feasibility and financial analysis and real estate capital markets. Unless what obtains in the Western world, public perception of the role of real estate developers is still regrettably limited to that of estate agency.
â€œYou must do something to change this perception and build public confidence for your members. We would not attain the goal of Vision 20:2020 in the area of housing and property development without the active mobilization and participation of your members.
â€œThe built sector has a role to play in the global search for safe, affordable and sustainable energy as well as in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It is a fact that energy cost directly affects the value of property and evidence exist that the construction and operation of buildings accounts for about 40 per cent global consumption of raw materials and energy,â€ he said.
Speaking at the occasion, REDAN President, Mr Olabode Afolayan, declared that the efforts by the recent past government to move the housing sector forward could not accomplish much until REDAN came on board. He noted that about 72,000 housing units have been developed across the country in the few years of existence of REDAN through the efforts of its members.
Afolayan further noted that the current deficitÂ in the nationâ€™s housing stock is about affordability, adding that many low income earners could not afford some of the housing units developed in some parts of the country particularly in Lagos and Abuja. He therefore called on the minister to help create an enabling environment, where investors can come in and develop housesÂ for Nigerians.