By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
GOVERNOR of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has identified the Land Use Act of 1978 as the greatest hindrance to the mortgage industry in the country.
He said this while delivering the keynote address at a workshop for judicial officers with the theme, “Mortgage Disputes in Nigeria: The Need for Expeditious Resolution of Cases,” in Abuja, yesterday.
Emefiele who disclosed that difficulties in delivering affordable housing to low and middle-income households where there is the greatest demand for housing was another major drawback, said,“land tenure system as enshrined in the Land Use Act of 1978 has deterred proper development of a robust and sustainable housing sector in Nigeria”.
Speaking further, the governor acknowledged limited access to housing and mortgage financing, complications in enforcing mortgage contracts and foreclosure on properties in Nigerian courts, slow bureaucratic procedures in land administration and high cost of land registration as serious impediments to adequate housing delivery in Nigeria.
He also identified high rate of population growth, high rate of rural-urban migration and exorbitant cost of construction materials as other problems militating against the robust development of housing and mortgage sectors in the country.
While advocating for more protection of property and contract rights, the governor commended some states in the Federation that have undertaken reforms aimed at improving access to courts and expressed optimism that the initiatives being championed by the Nigeria Housing Finance Programme (NHFP) may present viable models for tackling teething problems confronting the housing sector in the country.
He, however, reiterated the need to take urgent action aimed at expediting judicial process for adjudicating on mortgages and other commercial disputes.