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FG to inject funds in road, housing sectors to boost economy amid recession

Faced with an eventual job cuts in the building and civil engineering firms, the Federal Government plans to inject massive funds in construction projects, especially in the road and housing sectors.

Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who stated this at the annual conference of the Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria (QSRBN) in Abuja, observed that government believes that massive investment and expenditure in infrastructure is one sure way of quickly taking Nigeria out of recession.

He said: “This administration, more than any other in recent times, has taken concrete measures to bridge the infrastructure deficit in Nigeria in the belief that the development of a nation’s infrastructure impacts positively on its economy.

Fashola who was represented by the Director, quantity surveying in the ministry, Dickson Onoja, assured that the administration was committed to take concrete measures to boost the sectors.“A revitalised and building and construction sector is capable of not only increasing our national infrastructure stock, it will also generate huge multiply effects, and in the process, create massive employment and wealth, thereby, boosting economic prosperity of the country.“Government has accordingly, voted massive funds for construction projects in the road and housing sectors. Funds have been released for the payment of debts owed contractors, which has seen the return of most of them to site, resulting in the re-engagement of workers who had earlier been laid off.

“Anyone who takes his or her time to go round the country at this time will notice that Federal Government construction projects have regained their momentum and the project sites are, once again, alive and thriving,” he said.

Fashola said that the current administration demands the involvement of professionals, especially registered surveyors in projects. He stressed, “with the current downturn in government revenues, there is need to ensure that the little funds available are efficiently utilized.

“The high cost of construction projects is a major challenge, which requires the skills and knowledge of Quantity surveyors, as construction cost experts to address.”

He said the government expects registered Quantity Surveyors to leverage on their professional expertise to promote resource optimisation and value maximisation as it strives to provide modern infrastructure for the nation.

Also speaking, President, Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria, QSRBN, Malam Husaini Dikko, said the surveying professionals will intervene to minimise the cost of construction given the current economy situation in the country.

Dikko, while painting the ugly picture of negative impact of the recession, said, “Given this ugly scenario, it means that Nigeria needs to borrow heavily to balance its annual budgets especially the capital budget.

Originally published in The Guardian

Getting a Mortgage? 5 Basic Rules to Follow

Owning a home in the present economic crisis is even now more challenging than ever. With interest rate in Nigeria as high as 21%, understanding how mortgage works is very crucial to avoiding difficulties due to reduced income or increased rates amongst other challenges.

Though there’s a lot to consider when contemplating purchasing a home with cash or obtaining financing via a mortgage, most people will prefer the former in order to eliminate debt and interest. However, in the absence of cash, what are the factors you must consider when going for a mortgage? But first let’s define what mortgage is:

In the most basic sense a mortgage is a loan to buy a property.  A mortgage loan, also referred to as a mortgage, is used by purchasers of real property to raise funds to buy real estate; by existing property owners to raise funds for any purpose while putting a lien on the property being mortgaged. The loan is “secured” on the borrower’s property – Wikipedia

Understand Your Fixed Costs

Before you decide what and how to spend on a mortgage, it’s important to take stock of your habits and your true fixed costs. Having an idea of your fixed expenses will give an insight into what you need weekly, monthly or yearly. You should be honest with yourself when putting together your household budget. With this in place, you will also know what you can part with for your mortgage payments without cutting your neck.

Be PITH Safe

According to the Canadian Housing & Mortgage Corporation, your monthly housing costs should be less than 32% of your gross monthly income. These are considered your PITH or Principle and Interest (of your mortgage payments), Property Tax, and Heating bills.

Get a Mortgage You Can Afford

If you pass the PITH test, the second test of what you can afford mortgage. Your entire monthly debt load should be less than 40% of your gross monthly income.

Choose your amortization period Wisely

The longer your amortization period, the lower the mortgage payments.  However, the longer it takes you to pay back the mortgage principal to the lender, the more interest you will pay—which can affect your ability to save for other important things, such as retirement. So you will have to weigh your options and chose what’s best for you.

Picking the Right Interest Rate  

The interest rate at which you select to pay off your mortgage varies from “fixed”—whereby the rate will NOT change for the term of the mortgage, and is generally a bit higher but considered more stable, or “variable” whereby the interest rate can fluctuate with the current state of the market. Pick and negotiate wisely before you start. This is very important.

Finally, make sure you seek as much professional advice as you need before talking up mortgage.


FCT gets land use & allocation committee

The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has approved the constitution of the FCT Land Use and Allocation Committee (LUAC) in line with the provisions of the Land Use Act 1978.  The Minister made this revelation while receiving the Commandant of the National Defense College, Rear Admiral Sunday Alade that paid him a working visit in Abuja.

Malam Bello disclosed that the 12-member Land Use and Allocation Committee is to be chaired by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye and  the Committee is expected to identify land available for possible allocation within the Territory, process requests and advise the FCT Minister.

He said that the constituted committee would also advise the Minister on matters connected with the management of land, resettlement of persons affected by the revocation of rights of occupancy, as well as determine disputes as to the amount of compensation payable for improvement on land.  According to him, the Committee is to ensure equity, transparency and due process in all land allocation in the Federal Capital Territory.

The Minister revealed that members of the Committee include the General Counsel/Secretary, Legal Services Secretariat; Secretary, Area Council Services Secretariat; Directors of Engineering Services, Resettlement & Compensation, Urban & Regional Planning, Survey & Mapping as well as Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS).

Others are the Special Assistants to the Hon. Minister and the Permanent Secretary; while the Director of Land Administration is a member/secretary to the committee.

Originally published in Daily Trust

Housing deficit: Recapitalise FMBN, stakeholders tell govt

For the country’s housing deficit to be addressed through long-term mortgage financing, stakeholders have called for the recapitalisation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to over N500bn.

According to them, the recapitalisation will widen the country’s mortgage space and deepen the housing finance market through mortgage creation.

While speaking on building a robust mortgage system in the country, at a recent housing summit in Port Harcourt by the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, the Acting Managing Director of the FMBN, Dr. Richard Esin, said the mortgage system was still underdeveloped and could not effectively drive homeownership, as more than 90 per cent of new homes were built with funds from personal savings.

Esin said the sector was plagued by dearth of long-term funds for mortgage financing, low level of awareness of mortgage products, poor income and credit profile of potential mortgagors.

He listed other problems as poor capital base of mortgage institutions and high interest rates charged by mortgage institutions estimated to be between 18 and 25 per cent compared to the FMBN’s National Housing Fund’s loan of six per cent per annum for upwards of 30 years.

He said, “The way forward for housing provision will include providing long-term funding adequate for financing requirements through the recapitalisation of the FMBN to upwards of N500bn; ensuring full compliance with the NHF Act, which is capable of generating about N120bn annually; and the Federal Government and CBN’s intervention fund of at least N500bn.”

According to him, ensuring standardisation in the mortgage market through the adoption of the industry’s Uniform Underwriting Standards and creation of mortgage funds targeted at transactions related to the acquisition of housing units built in compliance with the National House Model designs, will  also help in meeting the housing needs.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, Danladi Matawal, noted that bridging the housing gap in the country would require the adoption of technologies and materials that reflected the concepts of modern methods of construction.

Matawal, who was represented by a NIBRRI director, Dr. Charles Osadebe, said this would help in reducing cost of construction by taking advantage of the speed of construction and sustainable materials in the process.

“Housing cannot be affordable if the cost of construction is high from the outset. To make any notable impact in reducing the cost of buildings, a significant component in a building must be targeted with a reduction in the components, which will in turn translate into an overall reduction in cost of buildings,” he said.

He said one of such methods would be the innovation of stabilising laterite with cement to improve its inherent mechanical properties to produce blocks/bricks that could favourably compete with or replace the conventional sandcrete blocks.

The Chairman, NIESV Faculty of Housing, Mr. Biodun Odeleye, said more than ever before, the current economic realities were pointers to the renewed energy, efforts and priority attention that government should devote to the important subject of housing.

He said, “We shall not relent in the drive to put this subject on the front burner and to constantly engage the government of this country until the needful is done.

“Very soon, we hope to meet the Minister of Power, Works and Housing for an opportunity to explore better areas of collaboration and to present a compendium of our previous summits with the communiques, while working out feasible strategies towards the realisation of government’s housing agenda, plan or initiatives; a plan that meets the peculiar socio-cultural needs of the people.”

Associate Professor of Land Management and Valuation, and the Director of Physical Planning at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Dr. Iyenemi Kakulu, said the government could fight crime through housing and urban regeneration.

She said that in order to fight crime through urban regeneration, the primary focus should be to restore a sense of community within neighbourhoods, adding that a housing strategy was required to reduce crime rate as well as the shortfall in housing.

“There is a massive shortfall of homes that most city residents can actually afford and a long-term plan is required stretching over a number of gubernatorial tenures. It is time for a paradigm shift in which housing should not be contemplated as a business opportunity for a few businessmen to engage in for the sole purpose of profit. It is a fundamental human right, which requires the collective effort of the citizenry and governments alike to make it work,” she added.

A renowned estate surveyor and valuer, Chief Kola Akomolede, noted that the success of the 10,000 houses to be provided in each state, as proposed by the Federal Government, would depend on how each of the professionals in the built environment carried out their functions.

He said any delay caused by any professional would definitely affect the overall success of the project, and urged the government to engage relevant professionals in the project.

He added, “For the success of the proposed 10,000 housing units in each state of the federation, I will request the Federal Government to please let each professional carry out their own duties. The last time we witnessed this kind of scheme was during the Alhaji Shehu Shagari government.

“Laudable as the scheme was, it was marred by incompetent contractors who were merely politicians with no knowledge of construction. Many of the houses have not been completed and occupied even as of today, almost 30 years after. Most of those occupied had to be completed by the allottees themselves.”

Originally published in The Punch

MD/CEO, Afriland Properties PLC, Uzo Oshogwe, Encourages Women’s Participation in Real Estate Sector

The Managing Director/CEO, Afriland Properties Plc. Uzo Oshogwe, recently charged women to participate more in the Nation’s Real Estate sector at the monthly real estate training for women organized by the Lady Realtors of Nigeria.

While speaking at the event which was supported by US Consulate General in Lagos, she stated that though being a female in the male-dominated field is more demanding, it definitely has its rewards.

“In-group favoritism, discriminative collaborations, family responsibilities and bias are some of the major challenges faced by women in the Real Estate industry but regardless of gender, the industry requires vision, tenacity, and creativity in order to achieve success”.

She urged women to network more, collaborate more and also help other women in order to achieve better results.

FMBN, mortgage banks in talks to deepen NHF operations

…Total loan default hits N70 billion

With the mortgage sector still caught in a battle for survival and worse hit by the recession sweeping through the housing sector, the apex mortgage institution and Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) have begun discussion on affecting an overhaul of modalities to access the National Housing Fund (NHF).

The development, which gathered steam few days ago in Abuja between Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN), also dwelled on resolving the knotty issues surrounding unremitted funds to the apex bank.

In the meeting attended by senior staff of FMBN and the Acting Managing Director/CEO, Richard Esin and MBAN National executives led by its President, Dr. Femi Johnson, Esin lamented that the debt profile under the NHF has risen to N70billion, which greater percentage resides with the developers through the estate development loan scheme and sought measures to arrest the situation.

Recently, FMBN had called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to wade debts owed the organisation, especially misappropriated contributory funds under NHF. The bank alleged that Mortgage Banks, which obtained funds for mortgage finances, for on lending to qualified NHF contributors, declined to disburse the funds to the applicants.

Similarly, the bank accused operators obtaining equity contribution from would-be mortgagors, but refused to deploy it in the provision of mortgage finances to the applicants’ benefit.  Some operators that their licences were withdrawn still encourage innocent and unsuspecting mortgagors to continue to repay their mortgages through fictitious accounts with no intention of remitting it.

However, sources told The Guardian that the meeting resolved two contentious areas.

ONE: FMBN and MBAN will agree on new operational dynamics that will deliver the timeline for any NHF application, for instance, whether is three months or a year,

TWO: that all mortgage banks have till September 30, to sort out individually their arrears of payment with FMBN and if any bank defaults, the name should be published in the dailies.

The source revealed that the association pleaded with FMBN to restructure loans owed by members, as the arrears of loan owed are not up to N3 billion.

He added that the proposed timeline or framework for the NHF processing, also restore confidence to the mortgage sector as Nigerians will be able to know what to expect from operators at any given time.

Meanwhile, Johnson said that the size of mortgage market has grown from N284 billion in 2010 to N518.76 billion in 2016, added that only about 5 per cent of the 13.7million housing units in Nigeria are currently financed with a mortgage.

He suggested the gradual reduction in interest rate in the economy from Current Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) of 14 per annum to a maximum of 6 per annum and removal of operational bureaucracy such as the reduction in cost of title transfer to a maximum of 1 per cent of property value; time to a maximum of three days, and procedures limited to only one Desk (1:3:1).

According to him, the government should subsidize construction targeted at vulnerable and low-end of the market as well as set robust operational guidelines to enhance profitability of mortgage banks and create of cheaper sources of funds.

MBAN president further advocated for the re-capitalisation of FMBN to N500 billion, assistance of CBN on the draft foreclosure laws being pushed through states for adoption to ensure quick passage and enhance mortgage business.

He also advised CBN to collaborate with MBAN on advocacy towards support for the sub-sector in order to enhance public trust and confidence, adding that the introduction of innovative housing finance products will extend the reach of formal mortgages.

Originally published in The Guardian

NIESV plans talks on FG’s housing programme

The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers has disclosed plans to draw the attention of all relevant stakeholders to issues capable of derailing the Federal Government’s housing programme aimed at constructing 10,000 houses in each state of the federation.

The Chairman, Faculty of Housing, NIESV, Biodun Odeleye, said there was a need for the government to ensure that the project work by reducing to the barest minimum corruption, while keeping focus on building houses that would meet the needs of the people.

He said, “We learnt of a proposal in some quarters for 10,000 housing units to be built in each state of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory. Such appears a giant step and a quantum leap towards getting out of the housing quagmire in Nigeria.

“This proposed project will supply about 37,000 housing units into the housing market, which implies that in about 54 phases of similar exercise, Nigeria would get pulled out of her housing deficits. Combining the efforts of the private sector, Nigeria may come out of her housing crisis earlier than projected.

“However, looking at the current economic depression in our country, which has caused tremendous cash squeeze on the government, private sector and individuals; the outlook is unclear as to how to actualise the project. Almost a year since the programme was announced, Nigerians have yet to see genuine efforts towards actualising it.”

Odeleye said the project and other issues affecting the country’s housing sector would form the basis of discussion during the NIESV 5th National Housing Summit, with the theme, ‘10,000 housing units in each state of the federation: Issues and prospects’, to be delivered by the Dean of Environmental Sciences, University of Lagos, Prof. Gbenga Nubi.

According to him, the summit, which holds in Port Harcourt on October 6, will also have sub-themes such as ‘Taming challenges through city regeneration’ and ‘Building a robust housing mortgage system for housing delivery in Nigeria’.

Others are ‘Reducing housing cost through modern housing techniques and construction materials’ and ‘Key roles of professionals in the housing delivery value chain’.

Originally published in The Punch

Government plans new initiative, targets 300,000 new homes

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has announced plans by the Buhari administration to launch a new housing finance initiative.

Under the proposed scheme, the Federal Government is planning a mortgage system that will catalyse the development of the mortgage market in Nigeria with the provision of single digit interest rate mortgages and longer repayment periods such as 20 years.

The proposed scheme also aims to provide 300,000 affordable homes supported by mortgages and creates 700,000 new jobs across a range of disciplines and professions.

The minister who made this known at the Annual Conference and General Meeting of the African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF) noted that with housing deficit at over 17 million, Nigeria was ripe for radical intervention in the provision of housing.

She said: “We are committed to fundamentally addressing historical challenges to housing. This requires innovative financial solutions that will stimulate housing development, related industries, create jobs across the nation and satisfy yearning for security through home ownership.”

The minister, represented by Mr. Seye Senfuye said: “Nigeria deserve to acquire affordable homes, built to a standard of good quality, located in well serviced estates that will create ideal environments in which they can raise their families, instead of being saddled with the challenges and risks of trying to build their homes organically.

“Due to the current high rates of interest, we believe that government intervention to bring down rates and enhance affordability is needed and we are committed to doing this.”

The Central Bank’s Director of Other Financial Institutions, Ahmed Abdullahi, noted that the housing market in Africa and in Nigeria is underdeveloped, and that the contribution of the market to the GDP in the country is less than one per cent, compared to the United States, which is about 80 per cent.

Abdullahi stressed the need to address absence of long-term capital that could be used to create mortgages, high cost of building materials, and problems of registering and enforcing property rights.

His words: “Mortgages are not short-term but the deposits we have in the banks are short-term liabilities, and you cannot easily use them to create mortgage. So, we need to address these challenges before we can improve the contribution of the market to the GDP.”

Originally published in The Guardian

FMBN to expedite action on NHF refund

Determined to improve the image of the organisation, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has made a paradigm shift towards sustainable profitability and the delivery of quality services to National Housing Fund (NHF) contributors and mortgagors .

The bank is now focusing on approval and disbursement of pending loan applications to retiring contributors. To benefit from this, contributors must have provided their Bank details and Bank Verification Number (BVN).

This was disclosed during the bank’s Business Performance Review in Abuja, where the banks’ Group Head, Finance and Control Group, Mrs. Oby Nwokedi, disclosed that FMBN recorded surplus of N424 million from a total income of N5.8 billion, saying, it was a turnaround from a loss-making entity in decades, to a profitable organization in 2016.

She further stressed the need to identify critical factors affecting operational performance in the bank such as sound corporate governance principles in its continuous engagement with government and stakeholders.

“The bank must also adequately strategize in all facets of its operations in order to redefine its role in the housing/mortgage finance market with a view to being operationally efficient and profitable like its international peer institutions; and finally, periodic performance review sessions will be sustained to entrench the culture of performance and accountability in the Bank”.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, urged the Bank to entrench the culture of accountability and profitability in its systems and periodically review its portfolio, with a view to optimizing its assets to drive mortgage lending and profitability.

The Minister, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr. Emmanuel Otu, implored the staff to take advantage of the session to highlight issues impeding on their performances in their respective offices so as to improve efficiency
and ultimately the Bank’s image.

Also the Acting Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Bank, Mr. Richard Esin, said the business performance review which was the first of its kind in the history of the bank was imperative in order to successfully chart a new course.

According to him, the bank must focus on creating a performance driven culture at all levels of its operations by embracing  its four pillars namely; corporate governance compliance, bank profitability, operational effectiveness and debt recovery.

The bank, he said, is collaborating with other organizations of like minds to promote self re-invention and stimulate competition for the overall growth of the housing sector.

Originally published in The Guardian

Nigeria to host African housing finance confab

The housing sector will take centre stage of national discourse, as Nigeria plays host to a gathering of experts and practitioners of housing and housing finance from across the world.

The two-day conference organised by the African Union for Housing Finance, in partnership with the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company is slated for September 14 and 16 at the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) Centre, Abuja.

Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, will deliver the keynote address at the Conference, while the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun will headline the plenary, including a unique housing investment marketplace. Other speakers include housing finance experts from Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, and from others like India, China, and Brazil.

The speakers will be complemented by institutional level representatives of the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the China-Africa Development Fund and the UN-HABITAT.

Participants would deliberate on the state of the housing sector, proffer solutions for its growth to unlock its multiplier effects on national economies. The conference will host a not-to-be missed Housing Investment marketplace, which will connect development finance institutions, investors, and housing practitioners, offering the opportunity for face-to-face meetings to discuss possible affordable housing finance projects and initiatives.

Investors already registered to attend the marketplace include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), China-Africa Development Fund, UK CDC, Lion’s Head Global Partners, Cantor Fitzgerald LP and the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

There will also be a Housing Microfinance Academy, hosted by LafargeHolcim in partnership with AFD, the French Development Agency, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).The Housing Microfinance (HMF) Academy is part of a series of events organized by LafargeHolcim to enhance HMF availability for low/middle-income people around the globe. So far, over 100 financial institutions on 4 continents have joined the Academy. It contributes to LafargeHolcim’s ambition to make affordable housing accessible through innovative solutions.

Expected outcomes from the Conference include a clear roadmap for the sector in Nigeria moving forward from the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, strong investment leads for greater affordable housing finance and provision in Nigeria, an Africa regional roadmap for the successful integration of housing finance into the urban agenda of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)to be presented at the upcoming Habitat III Conference in Quito Ecuador, amongst others.

The African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF) is a 55 – member association of mortgage banks, building societies, housing corporations and other organisations working on the mobilisation of funds for shelter and housing on the African continent, with the overarching goal of promoting housing finance on the African continent.

Its yearly conferences and meetings are highly in-demand platforms for brainstorming and knowledge sharing on developments in the sector on the continent, for identifying new housing investment opportunities, generate new business, and promote related products and services. The Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) is honoured to have been selected as local host for its 32nd edition and the yearly General Meeting .

Originally published in The Guardian

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