By Yinka Kolawole
APBN President, Mr. Segun Ajanlekoko, asserted that the virtually non-existent mortgage system in Nigeria and the seeming inability of FMBN to tackle the problem has necessitated the search for alternatives. He called for the establishment of the Construction Industry Development Bank that would be able to fund the sector at a single digit interest.
“Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria has not been dutiful. So, we must try an alternative. Let us try more private institutions. They cannot do the job based on existing financial instruments. You cannot borrow expensive money and expect to build cheaply. We need a specialised bank that can fund this sector and make sure that they have single digit interest. That is when people can build easily and houses become available,” he said.
He noted that every civilised country had a mortgage system that enables the working class to have recourse to having an upfront loan to pay for a house, adding that the resources available through the new pension scheme can be used for this purpose. “That template is available because we have pension scheme now. So, there is no reason why we cannot establish mortgage institutions so that individuals can access funds to build their own houses which they will repay back over a long time.
“What we are doing now is to ensure you have your cash to build a house and that exposes us to corruption. When somebody can put down N30 – 40 million to build a house, you must know that something is wrong somewhere. So, it is important for us to have an effective housing delivery and the instrument of setting up the mortgage institutions must be strengthened,” he said.
Ajanlekoko faulted the current lack of structure whereby everybody does things independently. “Until there is cohesion in the system, you can’t move forward. This has been tried in other places. You must look at global standard whereby Britain and Malaysia were able to achieve efficiency because they have this structure for construction industry board where everybody is together – all the professionals, all the employers, all the artisans. And they can come, sit and talk as to how to identify and fill the gaps in the industry and that way, the table will be turned around,” he said.