By Esther Alexander
The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa has charged federal housing agencies to focus on innovation and audacity in the collective quest to deliver the Renewed Hope Agenda for Housing.
This was contained in an address by the Minister during a multi-agency meeting at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday 25th October 2023.
While noting that the meeting became necessary as part of efforts to ensure all federal agencies within the housing ecosystem work in synergy to achieve the vision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for Housing and Urban Development, the Minister urged them to be creative and ensure that their initiatives match the size of the housing challenge that the country faces.
“Under Mr. President’s Renewed Hope Agenda for Housing, the government expects all federal housing agencies to work with the clear understanding that at the core of what they do is providing housing to Nigerians. Even though you may differ by name, the end result of your operations, no matter how technically different the institutional framework that guides you, is enabling access to decent and quality housing for all Nigerians across all income segments”, Dangiwa said.
He added that the agencies were strategically established to cater to all segments of the housing market, such as the social housing segment serviced by the FHFL; the affordable housing segment where the FMBN operates, and the mid to high-end segment of the market which is catered by the FHA.
“The Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), on the other hand, has a significant role to play in developing the housing market and building a robust housing finance market through its mortgage refinancing operations that are designed to boost liquidity in the housing market. So, clearly, our problem is not the lack of institutions. We have them. But as we speak, we must all be humbled by how little we have collectively and individually done to address the housing problems of our country.
“If we consider the state of the housing market, the systemic challenges we still confront, the estimated size of the housing deficit, the prevalence of slum dwellings, the cost of land acquisition, interest on mortgage loans, among several other challenges, and how little progress we have made to tackling them, we can all agree that we have fallen short of expectations”, he noted.
Arc. Dangiwa reiterated the ambitious plans for housing as captured in the Renewed Hope Agenda and called for increased urgency in the delivery of housing tangibles in a bid to change the embarrassing narrative. “Our population is rapidly increasing, and the demand is rising. We must, therefore, resolve to act in a way that shows the urgency of the moment and the size of the problem we seek to solve. That is what Mr. President requires of us, and that is what we must do going forward”.
The Minister acknowledged the enormous systemic and macro-environment-related challenges confronting the sector, including the Land Use Act, Establishment Acts of the FHA and the FMBN, the obsolete provisions of the NHF Act, the rising inflation rate, lack of government capital interventions, and other gaps in the value chain. “Despite these challenges, I believe that there still exist areas that we can leverage despite these challenges to make a greater impact. During my time at the FMBN, we made historic progress despite these challenges. That is what we should aim to do”, he added.
He further highlighted the Action Plan of the Ministry, which includes strengthening the institutional capacity of federal housing agencies, increasing the supply of decent and affordable housing stock, establishing a National Social Housing Fund (NSHF), implementing Land Reforms to ease land administration and access for private sector players, setting up Building Materials Manufacturing Hubs across the six geopolitical zones, development of New Cities that are integrated, inclusive, and demand-driven, as well as implementing Urban Renewal and Slum-Upgrading Programmes.
Stressing that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a game-changer who is willing to tackle Nigeria’s problems head-on, he called for the total commitment of the agencies to collaborate and participate with other housing stakeholders to see to the delivery of the Renewed Hope Agenda for Housing.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the NMRC, Kehinde Ogundimu expressed satisfaction with the policy direction and action plan of the ministry, noting that the implementation of the initiatives outlined by the Minister will trigger significant development in the housing sector. “On our part, we’re working to bring about a number of solutions, including the provision of data in partnership with bodies like the Central Bank of Nigeria, National Bureau of Statistics, Office of the Statistician-General of the Federation, and several others to assemble housing-related data based on the 117 indicators we ascertained through engagement with the Association of Affordable Housing.
“We are also working to dematerialize the entire titling process, find solutions to issues around construction such as technology, materials, cost, etc., and find ways around the scarcity of funds and financing”, he said.
In his response, Arc. Dangiwa asked the NMRC to make a presentation at the forthcoming National Council on Housing to educate the commissioners coming from various states on the need for states to adopt the model mortgage foreclosure law. “That way, they can take the message back to their governors. My desire is that we see to the full implementation of the law across the 36 states of the Federation during my time as Minister”, Dangiwa said.
Also commenting, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Family Homes Fund Limited, Abdul Mutallab Muktar said that rising inflation and low incomes are major challenges to the delivery of affordable housing to Nigerians. “We’re finding creative ways to deliver more social housing, and I believe collaboration with other agencies like the NMRC, FMBN, and the FHA can create more avenues for social housing delivery to Nigerians. Data is important for this to happen and so is improved technologies. We’re working with the NMRC and other bodies on those areas as well”, he noted.
The meeting was attended by the leadership of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), Family Homes Fund Limited (FHFL), and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), and led by their Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officers.
Other heads of agencies at the meeting were the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the FHA, Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, MD/CEO of the FMBN represented by the Executive Director, Business Development and Portfolio Management, Mr. Kingsley Chukwuma, and the Managing Director of FHA Mortgage Bank, Mr. Hayatuddeen Auwal. While they pledged to deepen collaboration for better implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda for Housing, the FHA called on the NMRC to accept other recognized documentation aside from the Certificate of Occupancy towards refinancing loans issued by the FHA Mortgage Bank.