The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said over N60 trillion is required to address the country’s 17 million housing deficit.
Malami disclosed this in his keynote address at the just-concluded workshop on the Model Mortgage and Foreclosure Draft Bill, at the Rockview Hotel Royale, Abuja.
The theme of the workshop was: “Creating an enabling environment for the growth of the housing and mortgage Sector: The need for land and law reform”.
Malami, represented by Mr. Biodun Aikhomu at the three-day workshop, further said more than 80 per cent of the nation’s population lived in informal housing arrangements.
According to him, the constraints to housing sector development included the difficulty in securing governor’s consent; poverty and affordability gap; slow adjudication and bureaucratic processes involved in housing registration and perfection of title. He, therefore, advocated reforms that would foster short, medium and long term solutions to these challenges.
The AGF said the provision of housing is one of the objectives of the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) instituted by the Federal Government. He said the Nigeria Housing Finance Programme, which is being co-ordinated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and supported by the World Bank, is playing key role in the scheme.
With this submission, Malami set the tone for various paper presentations, culminating in the issuance of a communique by participants.
It was, therefore, instructive when stakeholders at the end of the workshop spoke with one voice on their position regarding the Model Mortgage and Foreclosure Draft Bill. One of this was the call for each state to draw a road map for the passage and implementation of the Model Mortgage and Foreclosure Law (MMFL).
In doing this, the states are to bear in mind the three pillars of the model – regulatory framework; collateral registry and education and public awareness. This process, they argued, should be fast-tracked as soon as possible to avoid the distraction of electioneering process that may arise later in the year. This position formed the fulcrum of the communique issued at the end of the deliberation.
As part of the communique, participants were unanimous that there was need for the existence of the 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.
It further noted that there is need for governors to take ownership of the process of passage and implementation of the MMFL; noting also that there is need for increased collaboration among stakeholders (executive; legislature; judiciary; operators and regulators) for effective policy formulation and legislation to engender housing and mortgage reform.
Other recommendations include the passage of the MMFL and resolution of other land administrative issues to be escalated to influential fora such as the National Economic Council; Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Attorney Generals’ Forum. It also stressed the need to automate land registries and land titling processes in all states for better co-ordination 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; need for state governments to see discounts/reduction of statutory fees and rates as incentives to increase internally generated revenue (IGR) as well as broaden the revenue collection base of the state, thus making the MMFL an incentive to the states.
It was further submitted that there is need to consider the financial implication of the legal framework being proposed by the MMFL and the possibility of adopting existing structures to minimise 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.
It stressed the need 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 various states and income/salary scale of housing beneficiaries and mortgage schemes, bearing in mind the housing/mortgage policy that not more than 33 per cent of a beneficiary’s income should be used to service a housing loan/mortgage; need to simplify and modify mortgage creation to meet modern trends and exigencies of the housing and mortgage industry.
Others include 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; and also the need for states to provide the necessary infrastructure and social amenities (i.e. motorable roads; electricity supply; pipe borne water etc.) to make housing estates attractive to Investors; developers and potential homeowners.
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