President and chairman of council, Association of Housing Corporation of Nigeria (AHCN), Victor Onukwugha has stressed that for Nigeria’s mortgage system to thrive against all odds, there is an urgent need for a review of the nation’s Land Use Act and foreclosure laws.
Onukwugha gave the revelation during an exclusive interview with Africa housing news reporters in Abuja on Monday.
According to him, Nigeria can not attract foreign inflows into the nation’s housing sector without the laws being revisited.
“There are two types of financing. One is the construction loan or financing while the other one is the purchase loan otherwise known as mortgage. We don’t have a true mortgage scheme in Nigeria and that has militated against the proper housing delivery programme in the country.
“Nigerian banks are not helping matters with regards to construction loans whereby developers don’t get any loan that is more than three years tenure; and with a two digit interest rate, no developer can afford to get into that and come out without being hurt in one way or the other. So, we have to promote the regime whereby construction loans are within 10 to 15 years tenure with a single digit interest rate. We need to do a lot to attract angel investors. There are so many of them all over the world looking for where to invest but some of these factors drive them away.”
While alleging that state governors hijack the functions of their states’ housing corporations thereby rendering them unproductive, he expresses AHCN’s readiness to form a new partnership with state governors across the federation to drive affordable homes delivery.
“Some of the things we say in this country are mere lip service as far as housing delivery is concerned. We have so many programmes and policies that have been enacted but are yet to be implemented. All these constitute a cog on the wheel of our progress and reduce the pace at which we operate.
“I see housing affordability as a government scheme where the government forms a partnership with property developers to provide affordable homes to low-income citizens. what is available to one person may not be affordable to another person. A bag of cement for a poor man and a rich man is the same, even though they don’t earn the same income.
“Most state governors are the major problem we have. Majority of them don’t do housing projects. Some of them even do housing projects either with their Special Assistant or Adviser doing things their own way. There is a need for sustainability. If you are not doing a housing programme through your state’s housing corporation, even if you deliver the houses, they can never be sustained.
“Sustainability goes beyond bricks and mortals. It goes beyond construction. What of the maintenance measure that goes with it? All these can only be done by housing corporations”, he revealed.
According to Onukwugha, in a bid to ensure equal housing development in both rural and urban settlements, AHCN has embarked on a programme tagged Agric-village Integrated Scheme which he said would also help reverse the rural-urban migration to urban-rural migration.
While lauding the Africa International Housing Show (AIHS) for its efforts towards promoting housing affordability and sustainability in Nigeria through its various communication strategies, he assures continued synergy with AIHS, Family Homes Funds, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and other housing agencies in a bid to bridge the nation’s housing gap.
“We have worked closely with Family Homes Funds and the FMBN to ensure the provision of affordable housing in Nigeria. We have also done this through state housing corporations.
“From the onset, AIHS through FESADEB has been working tirelessly in propagating housing delivery plans and programmes of the association. So, I must commend AIHS for the laudable jobs they have done”, he said.
AHCN is an umbrella organization for all the state housing corporations, federal housing corporations and federal housing agencies, including the FMBN, Federal Housing Authority, and some private housing agencies in the country.