By Chris Ochayi
THE Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, (FMBN), should be recapitalization to the tune of about N100 billion to enable it aggressively address the issue of acute shortage of housing accommodation being experienced in the country.

Managing Director of FMBN, Mr. Gimba Yau Kumo who stated this in Abuja while receiving the leadership of the Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria, (AHCN), lamented that the bank’s current N2.5 billion capital base was insufficient and cannot make any reasonable impact in tackling the housing challenges faced by Nigerians.

He assured Nigerians that the management of the apex mortgage bank is working with the Federal Government to get the bank recapitalised, adding that apart from the recapitalization, the bank is also be looking for other sources to raise funds in order to surmount some of the challenges.

A highbrow estate in Lagos

Alhaji Kumo  said that except this is achieved, the present challenge of inadequate funding for housing development in the country will continue. According to him,  the dearth of funds in the apex mortgage bank is hampering its ability to deliver on its mandate to provide loans for the development of houses in the country.

He noted that the funds available to the bank to give as loan would not add value to the development of the sector. Until the federal government recapitalize the bank, the delivery of affordable houses to Nigerians will continue to be a mirage, he said.

“Capitalization of FMBN will enable us have sufficient funds as loans to developers to build houses that are affordable for Nigerian masses. We should be looking at about N100 billion capitalization before we can fully say there is enough fund in the pool to offer as loans to contributors,’ he explained..

While also regretting the various challenges posed by unavailability of land titles in the country, the Alhaji Kumo said, “We are working hard with respect to housing delivery to Nigerians. The National Assembly has considered the issue of Land Use Act as a constitutional issue,” he noted. According to him, resolving the problems associated with  the Land use Act would greatly assist in mitigating the housing challenges faced by Nigerians who intend to build their own houses.

AHCN seeks adoption of local materials in housing construction

In his remarks earlier, the President of the AHCN Dr Ifienu Chukwujekwu lauded the present government for attaching  great importance and commitments to housing finance as manifested in the recent reforms in the FMBN.

“However, the housing needs of our people are still quite high and we must continue to work hard to meet these challenges. We are aware of the diverse housing problems in the country and the enormous challenge of government in tackling these problems over the years despite all efforts of successive government. It appears the housing challenges have defiled all solutions yet we refused to give up as an Association hence our commitment to finding possible ways to mitigate housing problems, he said.

Raising concerns on the high cost of housing units that are not affordable to majority of Nigerians, especially the low income group, he said the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo in April 2004 gave a mandate to the Association, NBRRI, and FMBN to fashion out the modalities for constructing at least 500 units housing in each state of the federation and federal capital territory, Abuja with local building materials.

The objective of the mandate according to him was to make housing affordable especially to the low-income earners and to discourage notable apathy for the use of local building materials especially red bricks.

As a prelude to the take off of the mandate, he said, “the AHCN, NBRRI, and FMBN organized three separate training workshops in Ota, Kaduna , and Umuahia to train participants on the use of local building materials especially interlocking blocks and paving stones.

“On our own we have organized various trainings thereafter to educate and train all our member organizations and various participants on the need to embrace the technology,” he said..

We must take steps to reduce the 16 million deficit -FHA boss
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Terver Gemade, noted that the sector, as part of its recommendations, had included in the recommendation of the national working committee of the vision 2020, that a minimum of one million houses be built within a year, if the deficit of about 16 million houses must be closed on a gradual process. “But up till now the recommendations are not being looked into to ensure that this recommendations were accorded priority attention.

“Recently, we have the vision 2020 of which I am a member of the national working group. We recommended that a million housing be supplied per year. Two years ago, nothing has been achieved and nine years to the expiration of the vision, we seem not to be doing anything.

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