By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
VICE President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has tasked financial market experts to support government’s efforts in the quest to close the housing deficit in the country.
Vice President Osinbajo stated this yesterday when he received on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa, a delegation from the FMDQ Group, led by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Bola Onadele, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Prof. Osinbajo also received a delegation from the Independent Petroleum Producers Group.
According to a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, Osinbajo asked the experts to support by developing an appropriate housing finance model that will significantly transform the housing sector on a large scale.
Economic experts say the housing deficit in Nigeria is estimated between 18-22 million housing units, while the ratio of mortgage finance to GDP in the country is only 0.5% it is 31% in South Africa and 2% in Ghana and Botswana.
But after listening to a presentation by the FMDQ delegation, Prof. Osinbajo stated “I like the point you made about the National Housing Blueprint. I very strongly believe that if we are able to unlock the conundrum in the sector, we can get things working.”
Osinbajo said, “in our ESP, we have something on social housing but one of the critical issues there is how to market these houses, how we are able to provide the finance so that people can afford to buy them. These are houses that are in the order of about N2 million or N2.5 million.
“But there are still constraints on account of the fact that we just do not have anything like a feasible housing finance model, I think it is time for us to do so. It just looks like it has always escaped our capacity to find a real solution to the problem.”
Speaking on the possibility of having a model that will work, Prof. Osinbajo noted that “everyone recognizes that we are in very challenging times. But I agree with you that the sheer range and vastness of our potentials make it seem almost intuitive that we are bound to succeed.
“I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever, that given the right mix of policy initiatives, we can get these things done. And your characterization of what needs to be done like attracting capital and sustaining it is so important because ultimately, capital will go where it is best treated.
“And if we are able to attract it (because we have the market, we have everything going for us), even in the worst of times, despite the situation, you find that there is still a great deal of interest.”
Speaking earlier, Mr Bola Onadele said the visit was to inform the Vice President about the transformation taking place in the FMDQ and the need for government support in growing the financial market for the benefit of Nigerians and the economy.
While applauding the efforts of the Buhari administration in creating the environment for the transformation to occur, Mr Onadele identified areas of interest for investment in the market to include housing finance, and mobilizing capital for projects in the transportation sector, among others.
Financial Market Dealers Quotation (FMDQ) is Africa’s first vertically integrated financial market infrastructure (FMI) group, strategically positioned to provide registration, listing and quotation services, and is owned by the Central Bank and commercial banks in Nigeria.
During the other meeting with stakeholders in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry under the auspices of Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), the group commended the Vice President’s peace efforts in the Niger Delta in 2016 that ensured peace and security of investments in the region at a time when the nation suffered a recession.
Chairman of IPPG, Mr Abdulrazak Isa made the commendation today while he and top executives of the group paid a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, “Your Excellency, you have been a great supporter of our association. Recall that years ago, your unprecedented intervention helped in resolving the security situation that we faced in the Niger Delta region. Since that time, we have not recorded one incident of attack on our facilities.”
Contributing, the immediate past president of the group, Mr Ademola Adeyemi-Bero added that since the intervention of the VP when he visited oil-producing communities in the 8 states of Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Bayelsa, Imo, Abia and Ondo, “we have not had one shutdown of our facilities.”
While soliciting the support of the Federal Government in securing investments in the sector, Mr Isa disclosed that the crisis resolution model deployed by the VP in 2016 will be replicated by IPPG to address emerging security threats on oil and gas facilities in the southeast.
The VP then assured the group of the Buhari administration’s commitment to the security of lives and property, noting that government is open to suggestions that would lead to permanent resolution of the crisis.
Prof. Osinbajo also called for collaboration between the Federal Government and other stakeholders in the oil and gas sector in advocating for a just energy transition regarding the global net-zero emission target in 2050.