The Attorney General of Nigeria, Abubarkar Malami notes that the provision of housing, one of the objectives of the federal government’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan, is constrained by Governor’s Consent, slow adjudication and bureaucratic processes involved in housing registration and perfection of title. He urges stakeholders to find solution to these challenges.
Nigeria is believed to have a deficit in housing of over 17 million and that the nation would require over N60 trillion in funding to address this deficit, according to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubarkar Malami.
Malami stated this in a keynote address presented at a workshop on the Model Mortgage and Foreclosure Draft Bill, held in Abuja, recently.
The attorney general, represented by Mr. Abiodun Aikhomu, Special Assistant to the President (Financial Crimes), added that more than 80% of the nation’s population lived in informal housing arrangements.
According to Malami, poverty and affordability gap were also constraints to the development of the housing sector, and advocated for reforms that would foster short, medium and long term solutions to these challenges.
The federal government, he said was doing something about it by regarding the provision of housing as one of the objectives of the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan. He also noted the key role of the Nigeria Housing Finance Programme which is being coordinated by the CBN and supported by the World Bank.
The Workshop was attended by various stakeholders. The participants included Speakers from various Houses of Assembly of States, Attorney Generals and Commissioners for Lands and Housing in each State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); representatives of the CBN; Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC); Governors’ Forum; Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria (MBAN); Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc., (NMRC); Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria (REDAN) and National Housing Finance Program (NHFP).
Also in attendance was Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, Director, Other Financial Institutions Services Department (OFISD) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Welcoming participants, the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability (DG, FSS), Aisha N. Ahmad, who was represented by Edward L. Adamu, the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services (DG, CS), stated that the theme of the Workshop “Creating an Enabling Environment for the Growth of the Housing and Mortgage Sector; The Need for Land and Law Reform” was intentionally chosen to enable participants share and gain knowledge and insight into the status, challenges and necessary reforms in the sector.
The workshop participants, in their communiqué, urged every state to have a road map for the passage and implementation of the MMFL, with focus on – regulatory framework; collateral registry; and education and public awareness. “It is desirable that this be done as soon as possible before the distraction of electioneering process later in the year.”
According to them, “The need to expedite the process for obtaining Governor’s consent (by delegating the authority to more than one person) in respect of secured transactions or reassess/streamline the process to eliminate the delay in obtaining such consent so that transactions involving real property would be easier and more seamless.”
All levels of government, they said should muster the political will to pass the Model law, as well as address other land administration challenges in the housing and mortgage sector; for them to take ownership of the process of passage and implementation of the MMFL.
They also asked for increased collaboration among all stakeholders (the Executive; Legislature; Judiciary; Operators and Regulators) for effective policy formulation and legislation to engender housing and mortgage reform.
“There is need to automate land registries and land titling processes in all States for better coordination of activities and information sharing in the industry; need for interface between the Land Registry and Mortgage Registry in States where these registries are separate; and for States Government to see discounts/reduction of statutory fees and rates as an incentive to increase Internally Generated Revenue, as well as broaden the revenue collection base of the State. “This underscores the need to emphasise the benefits of passing the MMFL as an incentive to the States.”
They said there was need to consider the financial implication of the legal framework being proposed by the MMFL and the possibility of adopting existing structures to minimize cost and serve as an incentive, rather than a dis-incentive to the passage of the law; need to address potential conflict of interest between the proposed State Mortgage Board and the existing Land Registry/Authority; for operators to be realistic in their projections/models in determining the types of houses built in States and fixing unit prices of such houses to suit the different States and income/salary scale of beneficiaries of Housing and Mortgage schemes, bearing in mind the Housing/Mortgage policy that not more than 33% of a beneficiary’s income should be used to service a housing loan/mortgage.