Struggling with the shortage of funds and lack of mortgage finance for housing schemes, members of housing societies across the country have called for the immediate implementation of the statutory contribution to the National Housing Fund (NHF) to meet the low- and middle-income people’s demand for loans.
The Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN) has condemned the non-compliance of commercial and merchant banks, insurance companies and the federal government with statutory regulations that required them to pay a certain percentage of their income to the NHF.
In a statement released after a two-day national workshop on “Facilitating Affordable Housing for Low and Middle Income People” combined with its 108th Board meeting held in Jos recently, the association lamented the growing housing shortage and the acute problem of housing availability, accessibility and affordability. for low- and middle-income people without corresponding actions to meet demand.
They further sought collaboration among stakeholders to address housing, creating and empowering people to reduce unemployment in society.
The workshop urged state governments to assist housing agencies in creating rental housing across Nigeria to cater for the segment that could not afford the outright purchase of houses through the window Family Homes Funds (FHF).
Participants identified mass rental housing as a viable untapped option to support housing corporations and reduce the impact of housing shortages, particularly on low and middle income groups.
The workshop commended the Plateau State government for reducing land charges by 50% as part of efforts to make housing affordable for low and middle income people. He urged other state governments to emulate Plateau State in creating an enabling environment to make affordable housing available to low and middle income people.
The statement signed by AHCN President Dr. Victor Onukwugha and Secretary General Mr. Olusesan Obe called on Federal and State Governments to declare a state of emergency over the housing deficit by embarking on social housing with workable implementation and practical solutions, as well as ending the rising housing deficit in the country. They identified faulty strategies and non-implementation of public housing programs based on the general national housing policy framework as responsible for widening the housing deficit, especially among low and middle income groups.
The workshop called for the establishment of agricultural villages and agricultural settlements in all local governments across the country as a panacea to address and resolve food production shortages and housing deficit, thereby creating employment opportunities for millions of unemployed youth across the country. He lamented the increase in rural exodus resulting in persistent food insecurity and putting pressure on unemployment and infrastructure in urban centers, as well as a delay in overall national development.
The association has called for effective partnership models and synergies between FHF and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), which will enhance development finance, wholesale mortgage lending and origination to reduce the housing deficit in Nigeria. He recognized the opportunities inherent in business partnerships in developing business synergies and strategic alliances to reduce costs and expand into new markets in the provision of housing.
Participants welcomed FMBN’s recent revision of the buyers’ guarantee, making it acceptable and bankable for housing companies to access construction loans from commercial banks. The group called on all state governments to help their housing corporations take advantage of these opportunities for mass housing projects.
They applauded FMBN’s various products such as Renovation Loans, Rent to Own and Diaspora Housing Loans recently introduced as part of efforts to develop sustainable housing supply in Nigeria, as well as the removal of the buyers contribution to NHF loans under N5 million and called on all Nigerians to take advantage of these schemes to increase the number of residential houses for low and middle income groups in the country.
They want governments to speed up the adoption of a legal framework for the judicial enforcement of mortgages and foreclosure legislations to boost investor confidence and streamline bureaucracies in the Nigerian mortgage market, adding that the lack of enacting foreclosure laws to protect investors is one of the barriers to attracting housing finance to the housing sector.
AHCN noted the availability of local building materials across the country, called on governments and all Nigerians to embrace and support the use of local building materials as a suitable alternative in providing affordable housing to low and middle income people in Nigeria. State governments are also encouraged to set up a pilot program of local building materials factories in all states of the federation, where these materials are available to encourage development, as well as economic, social and environmental sustainability and the general acceptance of local building materials in Nigeria. .
Participants called on the government to adopt NBRRI technologies to set an example of its acceptance by Nigerians. He noted various research work and development by the Nigerian Road and Construction Research Institute (NBRRI) over the years which resulted in the discovery and development of Interlocking Cement Stabilizing Earth Blocks (ICESEB) and the production of pozzolan cements as a partial replacement for Portland cement, which are purchased from locally sourced and readily available raw materials with cementing properties serving as a partial replacement for conventional cement with fully constructed pilot plants in the two NBRRI premises, in Ota in Ogun State and Bokkos in Plateau State.