By YINKA KOLAWOLE
…urges fast disbursement of FMBN loans
The Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN) has called on government to place more emphasis on the provision of affordable rural housing as a way of reducing the housing deficit as well as curtailing the rural – urban drift in the country.
AHCN President, Dr. Ifenna Chukuwujekwu, made the call during a recent visit to the offices of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) in Abuja. He declared affordability remains a major challenge to the housing sector in Nigeria, noting that the quality and quantity of a nation’s housing stock are veritable indices of measuring the socio-economic well being of the citizens.
He explained that there is need to decentralize housing activities at both state and rural levels and ensure trained manpower to address housing problems at the grassroots level. “To start with, training and education of people on mortgage-related issues to keep them abreast with happenings in the mortgage industry is very paramount. There is also an urgent need to carry the campaign on the use of local building materials to the grassroots level to enhance the prospect for affordable housing in Nigeria.
“Another major tool to promote affordable housing is through Housing Co-operatives and with the National Housing Corporative Policy in place, the association is better prepared to blaze the trail in better education of the people in utilizing housing cooperatives for home ownership,” he stated.
Chukuwujekwu urged FMBN to ensure quick disbursement of estate development, saying this would assist it to provide affordable rural housing throughout the federation. He declared that members of the association that accessed FMBN loans in the past are facing delay in the disbursement of the loans in tranches which is affecting development.
“One major challenge confronting some of our members that have accessed your loans in the past is the delay in disbursement of loans tranches which ultimately affect development. After the first disbursement, the time frame for the release of subsequent tranches was always long, extending to when inflation would have overtaken the Bill of Quantity (BoQ).
“When a new BoQ is prepared, it has to go through the normal approval stages which ultimately affect disbursement and development. We are therefore soliciting for your urgent intervention in this regard. On our own part, we want to assure you of our association’s support in the search for the solutions to problems facing housing and housing related matters. We seek for a joint co-operation between the FMBN and the AHCN in ensuring the provision of affordable mass housing development.
“As at today, your organisation is the only body that provides housing finance at affordable rate to the sector and it is obvious that the demand is higher than the supply. While we are working tirelessly on our part to secure other alternative sources of housing finance especially from foreign funding to reduce total dependency on your organisation, we are for now left with no other option but to rely on FMBN if we are to remain relevant and not redundant in housing provision.
“It is on this premise that the Association is soliciting for your co-operation for our member organisations to enable them carry out their social responsibility of providing mass housing to the people,” he said.