The Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN) have held a 2-day National Workshop on Pragmatic Approach to Addressing Rental and Low Income Housing Availability and Affordability in Nigeria.
The workshop which was also the 99th Council Meeting of AHCN took place in Calabar from Tuesday 25th to Thursday 27th 2019.
Participants at the workshop bemoan the increasing housing shortage and affordability crisis without corresponding actions to match the demand and calls for urgent collaboration among stakeholders with pragmatic strategies that will directly address the housing and employment needs of the people.
The workshop identifies mass rental housing as untapped viable option of sustaining housing corporations and call on all state governments to support their state housing agencies in driving rental housing across Nigeria.
The workshop notes and commends the establishment and impact of Family Homes Funds and its efforts to make affordable housing available to low income earners through funding development, mortgage and rent to own scheme. A call was made to all State Governments to support their state housing corporations and make lands available to ensure the success of the family Homes Funds programs.
In a communique signed by AHCN President, Muhammed Baba Adamu and Secretary General, Mr. Olusola Martins, the workshop recognizes the inherent opportunities in business partnerships and calls for effective partnership models and synergies between Family Homes Funds and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN to enhance development funding and wholesale mortgage lending and origination to reduce housing shortfall in Nigeria.
The workshop commends the recent FMBN review of the off-takers guarantee which makes it acceptable and bankable in favour of housing corporations to enable them access construction loans from commercial banks and calls on all state governments to support their housing corporations to take advantage of these opportunities for mass housing projects.
Housing cooperatives were also identified by the workshop as viable option to enhance housing availability and affordability as well as mobilizing resources and off-takers in tackling funding mechanism challenge; and therefore call for collaboration of housing cooperatives with housing agencies in addressing rental and low income housing shortage in Nigeria.
The workshop identifies the challenge and lack of adoption of foreclosure laws to safeguard investors as one of the impediments to attraction of housing finance to the housing sector and calls on governments to speed up the adoption of legal framework for judicial enforcement of mortgages and foreclosure legislations to boost investors’ confidence and streamline bureaucracies in the Nigeria’s mortgage market.
The workshop calls on all housing agencies to embrace modern technology and digital solution for development and management of real estates and rental housing and to adopt highly skilled labour for development.
The workshop resolved to address the issue of non-availability of data base for off-takers on real estate and mortgage information management which constituted major challenge to the development of mortgage system in Nigeria. The Association resolves to sustain a pilot scheme of Home Ownership Off-takers Affordability Survey Data base which commenced first quarter of 2018 with a creation of a verifiable working database of about 1,000 workers per selected state with her partner Value Chain Project Consultants, to pre-qualify them for their actual housing needs and mortgages to acquire same in all the states of the federation. The meeting therefore reiterates its call on the Federal Government and the CBN to provide revolving housing fund and inject a minimum of N500 billion loans as intervention funds into the real estate sector at a single digit to develop the housing sector.
The workshop also reiterates its commitment to Public Private Partnership (PPP) and calls on government to take appropriate steps to address, strengthen and embrace emerging partnership options for effective housing delivery of decent and affordable mass housing so as to promote effectiveness and profitability of housing agencies.
The forum observes the drop in commitment by governments towards the National Housing Fund contributions and implored them to sustain the contribution to make funds available for housing development.
The workshop calls on the FMBN to make the loans process more applicant friendly by removing all bureaucratic hurdles and demonstrate a verifiable and transparent trends of benefits to NHF contributors nationwide in order to win back the confidence of states that have withdrawn.
The meeting notes the availability of local building materials and calls on governments and all Nigerians to embrace the use of local building materials as appropriate alternative for addressing availability and affordable housing in Nigeria. With the availability of Hydraform and NBRRI technologies, state governments are encouraged to set up pilot scheme of local building materials plants in all the states of the federation to encourage development and acceptance of local building materials in Nigeria.
The meeting notes and commends various research works and development of Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) over the years which culminated in the discovery and development of Interlocking Cement Stabilize Earthly Blocks (ICESEBs) and production of pozzolana cements a partial replacement of Portland Cement which are procured from locally sourced, readily available raw material with cementing properties serving as partial replacement for conventional cement with a completely built pilot plants in both NBRRI premises, Ota in Ogun State and at Bokkos in Plateau State; and call on government to embrace NBRRI technologies to set an example for its acceptance by Nigerians.
The forum notes and commends the involvement of NBRRI in investigation of building collapse cases in Nigeria and posits that such involvement will promote quality delivery of housing as it will assist to determine the causes of collapse and proffer solutions to generate data bank for building collapses in the country
By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja