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Experts Set Agenda For 9th NASS In Housing Sector

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Leading experts in the housing sector, have listed priority areas the newly-inaugurated National Assembly must focus on in boosting affordable houses for Nigerians.
The experts who are members of Housing Development Advocacy Group, in a letter addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, listed a review of the land use act, review of national housing fund and legislations to strengthen the housing sector, among others, part of the recommendations.
President of the body, Mr. Festus Adebayo, who signed the letter on behalf of other members, said the ninth National Assembly, especially the Senate, should pursue legislations needed to develop Nigeria’s housing sector.
“With good legislation, some of the perennial problems – notably land use act – bedevilling the sector will be ameliorated and lead to the reduction of the country’s housing deficit.
“The single most important factor in Nigeria’s housing crisis is the gross misapplication of the Land Use Act, 1978, and the resultant denial of access to land to the poor.
“Although the Land Use Act preserves the right of the holder of a right of occupancy to the sole and absolute possession of all improvements on the land, it provides that such improvements may be transferred, assigned or mortgaged only subject to the prior consent of the Governor.
“Another major feature of the land use policy constraining housing development and optimal economic use of land resources is the mandatory requirement of the governor’s consent to land transactions such as sale, assignment, transfer or mortgage of land in urban areas,” he said.
Addressing the National Housing Fund, Mr Adebayo said: “The eight National Assembly had passed the National Housing Fund (Establishment) Bill 2018 (The NHF Bill) to the President for assent, but was declined for certain reasons.
“There is also a public sentiment against the bill in line with that of the president, and also for the fact that there was no wide-sector consultation in the formulation of the bill.”
On affordable housing, he said: “Legislative interventions that can reduce the cost of building materials and also encourage local production are very critical at this time.
“The introduction of schemes like the Family Homes Funds which is intended to deliver about 500, 000 homes in 2023 has been commended by a lot of stakeholders’’.
“Other measures that can also increase affordability include social capital. The ninth National Assembly should enable legislations that will make it easier for cooperatives to pull their resources together and contribute to national funds on housing.”

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Ogun Seals Off Two Dilapidated Buildings …Marks 526 Others For Demolition

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The Ogun State Government has sealed off two dilapidated buildings in Abeokuta the state capital, and ordered occupants of the houses to move out within 24 hours.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Urban and Physical Planning, Mr Nafiu Adebiyi, told newsmen during an inspection tour at the weekend, that 526 other houses built on waterways, canal and erosion channels had been marked for demolition across the state.
Adebiyi said at the scene that the order became necessary to prevent loss of lives and other possible disaster which could arise from the partially collapsed buildings.
The two buildings were located along Nepa Road in Isabo area of the state capital.
“As a responsible government, we cannot continue to watch and allow the buildings to collapse totally while people still reside in them,” he said.
Adebiyi said that the government was only waiting for response from National Emergency Managment Agency (NEMA) which had promised to provide alternative shelters for the affected victims before demolition could be effected.
“Demolition of houses is not what can be done in a hurry, no matter how illegal such structures are.
“ In as much as human beings live in such houses, we must follow the rules in carrying out such demolitions,” he said. He affirmed that government’s intention was to ensure that nobody was negatively affected as a result of preventable natural disaster which was predicted by the National Metreological Agency (NIMET) earlier in the year.
“ It is not easy to dislocate people from their comfort zone. That is why we are approaching the process with human face.
“Moreso, many houses affected were not illegally located because as at the time most of them were built, those places were not close to water banks.
“It is the challenge of climate change that made the water levels to begin to rise, with resultant erosion.
“We are being carefull so that we don’t solve a problem by creating another one, “ he said.

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NIPOST Buildings’ Remodelling: CBN To Engage Architects, Others

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Ahead of the proposed National Microfinance Bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is planning to engage architects for the remodeling of the Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST) buildings needed for the project.
The Tide reports that the project is expected to throw up jobs for the nation’s real estate professionals, especially, architects, engineers, estate surveyors and builders.
New structures may also be built while the old facilities are expected to be reconstructed.
Sources hinted last week that the architects and other professionals needed for the projects will be hired by CBN from its pool of consultants, while the property arm of the Nigerian Postal Service is expected to involve their in-house officials in some aspects of the remodeling exercise.
Specifically, the buildings form the equity contribution of the postal system to the bank, which is expected to have an initial capital base of N5 billion. About 774 local councils have been penciled down for the project. The pilot phase will take off in six states and Abuja, namely Oyo, Rivers, Bauchi, Kaduna, Enugu and Kogi.
The design of the structure will include counters, strong rooms and offices for the banking operation.
The scheme is a mechanism,  which the apex bank hopes to drive financial inclusion of the people living in rural communities.  With locations in all the nooks and crannies of the country, NIPOST is providing accommodation for the establishment of the bank.
Confirming this development, CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said  new structures would also be provided where there are none  to facilitate physical contacts where necessary.
Okorafor stressed that the remodeling would be done to ensure that the buildings meet the standards set by the CBN.
He noted that the essence was to improve financial inclusion and capture those in the rural villages leveraging  on the NIPOST’s presence in  the 774 local councils across the country to reach its target beneficiaries.
“Nigeria is large with many rural areas without banking experience , we want to  employ digital payment to reach this people  in the villages  and the best way to reach them  is to get institutions that have a footprints  like NIPOST  that spread throughout the  774 local councils.  So what the CBN and bankers committee has done is to register a company, a micro finance bank that  has footprints across 774 local councils . Wherever there is a physical building of NIPOST already, we will remodel it and use it, if there is none, we will use fabricated building”, he added.
A NIPOST official, Musa Suleiman,  an engineer, said  the agency  would do all the  major maintenance while the  CBN would remodel the areas allocated to it for the  banking services.

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Stakeholder Laments CBN’s Removal Of Mortgage Interest Rate Cap

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A player in the real estate industry, Idaibi Fiberesima, has expressed worry over the impact the removal of mortgage interest rate cap by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) would have on housing delivery in the country.
Fiberesima, who is a member of the Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, in a chat with The Tide, Monday in Port Harcourt, noted that the move would spell doom for the industry.
He stated that the CBN’s recent removal of the interest rate cap for Primary Mortgage Institution (PMI),would worsen the housing delivery problems rather than improve it.
He said the move could further increase interest rates charged by mortgage banks, which he explained was between 22 and 26 percent before the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) started the refinancing of the Mortgage banks, noting however, that the interest rates came down to 17.5 percent for commercial mortgage institutions after the refinancing.
Fiberesima explained that the new provision which was issued in 2017 and became effective, September 9, 2019, indicates that interest rates and lending fees are now negotiable, which leaves the homeownership seeker at the mercy of PMIs depending on his negotiating power.
He added that the implication of the new policy is that interest rates would be determined by the risk profile of intending clients, saying, “high risk profile projects would attract high rates, while lower risk profile projects would attract lower rates or no deal at all’’.
The estate surveyor and valuer lamented that the mortgage system in Nigeria has not reduced to the housing deficit in the country, pointing out that the interest rate would be market driven and not sensitive to the housing challenge facing the average Nigerian worker.
He emphasised that the mortgage policy in the country did not encourage citizens to own their own homes, and pointed out that an interest rate of over 20 per cent and payment tenure of five years cannot be referred to as mortgage.

 

Tonye Nria-Dappa

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