By Funmi Olasupo
ABUJA—Federal Government has promised to strengthen the mortgage policy for Nigerians to access affordable housing, reduce corruption and encourage productivity in the sector.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who disclosed this at the ongoing Affordable Housing Summit 2016 in Abuja, stressed the need for stronger mortgage policy, in line with the change promised by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to pursue infrastructure development and specifically address the housing needs of Nigerians.
The minister said the enthronement of best practice would help to reduce corruption, restore investors’ confidence in the housing sector and create an atmosphere of transparency and dependability.
He said: “I think that mortgage is the best practice and the way to go to reduce corruption and to encourage productivity.
“I suggest that our houses must be tied to our income, which must be tied to our jobs and I think it is the way to create credit that our housing sector desperately needs.
“I do not think that we can seriously talk about transparency, if a large number of our people pay a two- year advance housing rent when they receive their arrears monthly. Where will the money come from?
“I am sure there must be other ways in which we must create credit because economies where people get paid at the end of the week and able to pay their rent at the end of the week; or are paid at the end of the month and are able to pay their rent at the end of the month, allow for a much more beneficial quality of life.”
He also expressed confidence that the ministry’s collaboration with the German Development Cooperation, GIZ, and other development partners would, among other key objectives, proffer a clear, sustainable, realistic and strategic blueprint for affordable housing delivery in Nigeria.
He noted that some anomalies had affected the housing sector over the years, explaining that “if the income marches your obligation, you pay in arrears.
“No matter how hard we try to build to meet the budget of the demanding public, we must also respond to the question of credit for rent. So I say that this mismatch in advance rent and arrears of income is one of the reasons many completed houses are empty,” Fashola added.