By Chris Ochayi
STAKEHOLDERS in the housing industry alleged last week that promises by the Federal Government to provide affordable housing for the citizens could not be fulfilled because of lack of commitment to recapitalizing the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN.
National President of Real Estate Developers’ Association of Nigeria, REDAN, Mr. Olabode Afolayon who revealed this shortly after a meeting of the stakeholders in Abuja, said the government has reneged on its several promises to recapitalize the bank to the tone of $200 million.
He said the implication of this, is for developers to continue to believe and do business in the act that housing in Nigeria is going to be 99.9 per cent private sector driven, adding that let everybody forget about the government.
According to him, “you can see in the last three years the Federal Government has been talking everyday about housing. It is talking about recapitalization of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN. So we are tired. We don’t want to believe Mr. President anymore.
“I read it over the pages of the newspapers about two weeks ago during the flag-off of housing estate for the paramilitary where the President repeated it that they are going to recapitalize FMBN. For goodness sake, how can you be saying the same thing for three years?
“Each time people like us and others in the sector listen to the President talking, it makes us to sit down and reappraise ourselves to enable us forge ahead. We don’t even want the government to talk about recapitalization anymore because we are tired of hearing the same thing everyday.
“The last time we were with the President during the Presidential Retreat in December and the issue of mortgage refinancing came up, the government said they want to enhance the bank by encouraging MRC for them to enhance demand through the provision of mortgages but that was the last we heard about it.
“The Federal Government also said it during the inauguration of the new Board of FMBN. At every moment it is saying it but for one single second we have not seen anything to justify that. Don’t you feel the issue is politicized?
“For people like us, we are not politicians. We are only talking about our business and business interest and the interest of the general public that we serve. When we heard that the government was going to recapitalize FMBN, a whole lot of private individuals in the real estate business went ahead and invested in development plans.
“Some of them went for expensive plan, with the view that the demand is going to be enhanced and somebody is coming to take it over from them because the issue of housing in Nigeria is not a problem of you looking for the market but a problem of demand. “The government is really not doing anything about it. The government should stop saying these things because they are trying to create artificial pricing.
‘People are beginning to think that money is coming into the sector, meanwhile nothing is coming. Developers are now having what we call bad asset because you invest but you cannot even complete the transaction cycle. Supply is now there but the demand is not there’. REDAN boss said.