To guarantee the provision of affordable and accessible housing for all Nigerians, experts have called on state governors to take ownership of the process of passage of the Model Mortgage Foreclosure bill (MMFL) into law and ensure the implementation of land administration.
They stressed the need for each state to draw up a road map for the passage and implementation of the MMFL bearing in mind the three pillars, namely; regulatory framework; collateral registry; education and public awareness.
According to them, it is desirable that this be done as soon as possible before the distraction of electioneering process later in the year.The call was encapsulated in a communique issued at the end of a workshop on model mortgage and foreclosure draft bill held in Abuja.
In the workshop organized by the Nigeria Housing Finance Program (NHFP) and its collaborating partners with the theme: “Creating an Enabling Environment for the Growth of the Housing and Mortgage Sector: The Need for Land & Law Reform”, the experts said, the passage of the MMFL and resolution of other land administrative issues needs to be escalated to influential for a such as the National Economic Council; Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Attorney Generals’ Forum;
They also stressed the need for political will across all tiers and levels of Government, to pass the Model law as well as address other land administration challenges in the housing and mortgage sector.According to them, there is need for increased collaboration amongst all stakeholders (the Executive; Legislature; Judiciary; Operators and Regulators) for effective policy formulation and legislation to engender housing and mortgage reform;
Apart from that, the participants stressed the need to automate land registries and land titling processes in all States for better coordination of activities and information sharing in the industry.Other resolutions reached by the participants include the need for interface between the Land Registry and Mortgage Registry in States where these registries are separate;
They also want state governments 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 emphasize the benefits of passing the MMFL as an incentive to the states.
Participants, drawn from state and national officers noted the Multiplicity of Laws governing mortgages in different States and difficulties & delays in Perfection of security Instruments due to requirement of Governor’s Consent under the Land Use Act, 1978;
They further stressed 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; Beyond, the participants urged states to provide the necessary infrastructure and social amenities to make Housing Estates attractive to Investors; developers and potential homeowners.
In her remarks, Deputy Governor, Financial system stability, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Ahmad, noted the importance of housing , saying most people spend a sizeable amount of their income every year to provide a roof over their heads, while others commit their life savings to build a dwelling house over several years.
To address the challenges that have dogged the mortgage sector for decades., the NHFP and the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc, she said, have developed a Model Mortgage Foreclosure Law (‘MMFL).She stressed that a key strategy of the NHFP is to work with willing pilot States in Nigeria to adopt and pass the MMFL into law and so far, two States, namely, Lagos and Kaduna States, have passed laws which are modeled after the MMFL with encouraging results and impact, while other States are at various stages of passing the law and implementing its provisions.