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FMBN boosts housing in seven states with 1,500 units

Amid concerns that a yearly rural-urban migration of over 5 per cent requires 720,000 housing units annually to fill the nation’s housing deficit, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has uploaded 1,500 housing units into the property market.

The units developed by the bank in seven states; namely, Taraba, Kwara, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Nassarawa and Niger were commissioned recently. For instance, in Jalingo, 202 housing units, made up of 88 three-bedroom semi-detached bungalows, 90 two-bedroom semi-detached bungalows and 24 one-bedroom terrace flats were completed.

FMBN has also funded a number of estates in Taraba State with a total investment of about N1.4 billion in the development of a total of 378 housing units, according to Richard Esin, FMBN’s Acting Managing Director.

The housing Estates being developed by FMBN across the country are financed from the resources of the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme. The NHF is a contributory scheme into which Nigerian workers in both the public and private sectors earning a minimum of N3, 000 per annum contribute 2.5per cent of their monthly income.

On the basis of their consistent and continuous contributions to the NHF scheme, Nigerian workers become eligible for mortgage loans at a concessionary interest rate of 6 per cent yearly and repayable over a maximum period of 30 years to ensure affordable home ownership among Nigerians.

In its drive to make the scheme more inclusive, the federal government has recently lowered the affordability bar by approving loans of N5 million and below will attract 100per cent funding.

Esin explained, ‘this means that loan applicants will not be required to make down payments of 10 per cent being their equity contribution. In addition, the cost of mortgage perfection, which usually adds another 10 per cent to the upfront costs will be capitalized and repaid gradually over a period of two years.

The effect of these concessions reduces upfront homeownership costs by at least 20 per cent. By making homeownership more inclusive, FMBN is refocusing its business to make mortgages more affordable to a wider segment of the market, which now includes the mass and middle income segments of the population. The targeted average price per unit of a house to meet these customers is estimated at between five million to seven million naira per unit.

He noted that the development of these estates in Taraba state and other cities in all the geopolitical zones of the country ‘is an affirmation of the tangible achievements of the federal government in the area of provision of affordable housing for all Nigerians’. The Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, was equally excited about the development. He said: ‘the completion of this estate is an actualization of the affordable housing policy as it will no doubt transform not less than 202 Nigerians from being tenants to proud homeowners’.

The Minister received a huge applause when he announced that his ministry will soon commence the construction of ‘5,000 housing units in every state of the country for public workers every year over the next three years under the public-private partnership arrangement’. The need for housing in Taraba is huge.

Essentially, in the last five years, the state has received a huge influx of people running away from the crisis in the north-eastern corner of the country. Governor Darius Ishaku, himself an architect who has logged in several years in the housing sector and property development sector, noted that by developing these Estates in the state, FMBN ‘will address the housing needs of the target beneficiaries, thus creating space in other housing facilities within Jalingo to meet other needs’.

With these developments, FMBN is achieving its mandate in terms of cost management, resource optimization and waste reduction. For the 2016 financial year, the Bank posted an Operating Surplus (profit) of N2.7 billion – the first such impressive performance in two decades which is 50 per cent above the budgeted N1.8 billion for 2016. To further drive growth, profitability and achievement of its core objective, FMBN will soon roll out its five-year Strategic Plan.

Key priorities of the plan include sound effectiveness and debt recovery. The Federal Government has also announced plans to recapitalize the Bank to the tune of N500 billion. The Bank is also building strategic partnerships with key stakeholders. Early in 2017, it signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Shelter Afrique, and Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) in Abuja.

The objective of the strategic collaboration is to harness each party’s competencies and strengths in the areas of training, research, advocacy, and mobilization of financial resources, both international & domestic, in support of projects of mutual interest to ensure the successful delivery of affordable housing in Nigeria. By the agreement, Shelter Afrique, the Kenya-based international housing financiers, is committing to availing the sector $2 billion construction finance for housing development.

“This collaboration is a proactive step taken in recognition of the opportunities that would arise from the launch of the National Housing Model,” Esin said

Originally published in The Guardian

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