Housing Sector Needs Affordable Funding to thrive – Stakeholders

Elizabeth Christopher

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Stakeholders in the housing sector say increased access to affordable funding is critical to Nigeria’s economic development and bridging the housing gap in the country.

The Federal Government of Nigeria puts the country’s housing deficit at 28 million, requiring about N21tn to bridge the gap.

Speaking at the 2023 annual workshop organised by the Abuja chapter of Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), the Managing Director/CEO Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc, Mr . Sunday Olumorin, said mortgage finance has been widely recognised as the key driving force for housing development in every country.

“The Housing Finance Sector represents a growth reserve for the Nigerian economy as it has immense potentials to boost economic growth. However, its opportunities for growth are embedded in the challenges inherent in the environment as the burgeoning housing deficit could translate to productivity and profit; rapid urbanisation creates a continuous demand for housing and by extension finance, high population of the young and Middle Ages guarantees the proliferation of new households whose demands for Housing ensures the sustainability of Sub-Sector.”

Represented by Mrs. Ngozi Chukwu, the Group head, Business Development, he said that operators in the mortgage sector are targeting at least 10 percent contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The long-term goal of housing finance providers is to increase the contribution of Housing Finance to at least 10% of the Nigeria’s GDP as against the current level 0.5% and achieving this feat would require the creation of more resilient Housing Finance Systems. Thus, channeling long-term capital into housing remains a major priority. And as a matter of urgency and importance is the engagement with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria on the critical need for Intervention /Matching Fund for the Sub-Sector to stimulate Mortgage Financing for Home Ownership.”

Speaking on the workshop theme: “Mortgage financing in Nigeria: impact on economy and financial inclusion,” she said the importance of shelter in man’s remains one of the three basic needs of man after food and clothing

“Also, it is popularly believed that the availability of housing provides psychological satisfaction and guarantees better healthcare for citizens of a country. Hence, housing should be given the first lift in every government fiscal and monetary policy to make funds easily accessible and at a cheaper rate because every activity in the housing sector generates employment that will boost and sustain economic growth.

“If the mortgage sub-sector in Nigeria must survive and attain its full potential to contribute significantly to the economy the government must be supportive and have a progressive outlook for the sector,” she said.

Also at the event, the Director General of the National Pension Commission, Mrs. Aisha Dahiru-Umar said the Commission has recognised the relevance of mortgage financing and recently released a mortgage policy to assist Nigerians own their own homes.

The DG who was represented by the Head, Corporate Communications Department at PenCom, Mr. Abdulqadir Dahiru said “the Commission recently released a guideline for Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders to access 25 per cent of their balance for mortgage as a way of complimenting efforts of the federal government in that regard”.

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