The federal government has been called upon to privatise and strengthen the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) so as to eliminate the bureaucratic bottlenecks associated with their operations.
This was part of the recommendations of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) at the end of the recently concluded annual conference of the Institution in Lagos. They questioned the indecisive position of the National Assembly on land reform and the mortgage sector, urging the legislators to take urgent steps to pass the executive bill sent to it with regards to the land reform agenda, which will promote registration of titles and review the consent provisions of the Land use Act.
Speaking at the occasion, Second Vice_President of NIESV, Mr. Emeka Eleh, asserted that both FMBN and FHA should be allowed to play the role of facilitators for operators in the market, adding that there is the urgent need to adequately recapitalise primary mortgage institutions (PMIs) to prepare them as a veritable channel for giving mortgage loans to beneficiaries.
â€œThe primary mortgage institutions should be adequately recapitalised and supervised to prepare them to be a veritable channel for mortgage to beneficiaries. Contributions to the National Housing Fund should also be enforced to ensure that everybody in all sectors contribute to it,â€ he said.
Eleh noted that the government still has a lot to do to demonstrate its seriousness at achieving the targets set for housing in the vision 20-20-20 agenda. According to him, it is unacceptable that only 3 per cent of the nationâ€™s land had registered title, implying that the bulk of the land in the country falls within the category of â€˜dead capitalâ€™.
He called on the government to commit massive investments in the area of infrastructure to help reduce the cost of building new houses, reduce the cost of land, encourage people to live outside the cities and reduce unemployment.
â€œThe government must work hard to create an enabling environment for the private sector to act as the engine of growth in the housing sector. Such enabling environment must include the reduction of interest rates to single digit levels and the creation of a virile mortgage sector catering for both the employed and the self_employed.
â€œResearch into the sourcing and production of alternative building materials to reduce our dependence on imported materials should be encouraged. Local production of cement in particular should be encouraged with all necessary incentives to investors in this area,â€ he stated.
Eleh asserted that there was need for the institution of adequate legal framework that would enhance the growth of the housing sector. â€œThere is a need for the institution of adequate legal and institutional framework that will enhance the growth of the housing sector.
These include the institution of mortgage insurance and title insurance as well as the review and re-enactment of our foreclosure/power of sale laws. At present the difficulty in foreclosing on a property at the default of a customer has made reliance on properties as collaterals very unattractive.
A review of such laws including repossession laws under the existing landlord and tenant laws will enhance investor confidence,â€ he added.
Also speaking at the conference, NIESV President, Chief Emeka Onuorah, describes the rejection by the National Assembly of the proposal to amend the Land Use Act and other land related laws as unfortunate, adding that the nation cannot make appreciable progress in real estate development without proper land reforms.
He urged stakeholders in land administration and management to come together and act as pressure groups to impress it upon the lawmakers the need to pass the bills because of the present difficulties being encountered in the process of land acquisition and development.