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‘Perception, lack of information affecting investment from Nigerians in diaspora’

By Kingsley Jeremiah, Abuja and Matthew Ogune
27 February 2018   |   4:17 am
Sam Fongho is the Business Development Director of Midas Property Group; an organisation that provides tailored services that enable Nigerians living in diaspora...

Sam Fongho

Sam Fongho is the Business Development Director of Midas Property Group; an organisation that provides tailored services that enable Nigerians living in diaspora to investment in the real estate sector in Nigeria. In this interview with KINGSLEY JEREMIAH and MATTHEW OGUNE, Fongho disuses germane issues in the real estate sector, especially the need to boost investment from Nigerian living abroad.

Please tell us about the operational profile of your organisation?
Midas Property Group is a Real Estate consultancy company based in London.
Our service is basically to help clients invest in high performing real estate products in the UK and abroad. We Run property investment and education seminars in London. We run Landlord consultation events for many local council in London. We run property auction events in London. We own the ReMax Franchise for North London. We also educate the UK public on Real estate investment products in Africa (Nigeria and Cape Verde)

Midas Property Group (MPG) specialises in sourcing well-researched top performing properties in the UK & abroad to help you achieve wealth and prosperity. Midas Property Group (MPG) is capable of selling your property swiftly to our extensive database of serious investors and developers, who are always looking for quality stock. Whether you are a starting Investor or already have an extensive portfolio, Midas Property Group (MPG) can provide you with advice on different investment strategies that will secure your wealth and future.

Why are you in Abuja today?
I am Sam Fongho, Business Development Director of Midas Property Group, MPG London, am here with my colleague Queen Igwe, we have flown from London to be here for the inauguration of the River Park Community. Adrain Ogun of Adriano property is a very good case study for the Nigerian diaspora giving back and contributing to the development of Nigeria. Adrian had made abroad, he could have retired comfortably but he chose to embark on this massive challenge as his is contributing to Nigeria. For Adrain, River Park Estate is not just about providing a roof over Nigerian heads, it’s also about brand Nigeria. It’s about changing the narrative about Nigeria. It’s about getting the world to think quality when they hear the word Nigeria. We in MPG are proud to be sales and marketing agents in The UK. The quality of River Park is wowing the Nigeria Diaspora to invest back into Nigeria. The Nigeria Diaspora in the UK are looking up to Ogun’s shinning example and buying into his new narrative of brand Nigeria.

What’s your take on the real estate sector in Nigeria when compared with other countries, especially UK where you operate?
The opportunities in the real estate sector from an investor’s point of view are huge compared to the UK. The capital required to enter the industry is significantly lower in most parts of Nigeria compared to the UK. However, the fact that it’s much easier to secure a mortgage on a property in the UK than in Nigeria gives more room for investors to be able to leverage on borrows from the back to do more with a small amount of capital.

Housing gap still hovers around 17 million in Nigeria, how can this be bridged?
The government and financial sectors have to double their efforts to create an enabling environment for buyers to access mortgage products.

How will you rate the administration of President Buhari, particularly in the real estate sector?
Buhari has only been in power for three years, policies in the housing and real estate sectors are long term and take a while to take effect. One can only judge the current policies in a few years.

That said, the policy to build houses for new police recruits and other key workers would go a long way to solve the housing shortage and corruption. Some corruption is as a result of pressure to build a family home.

You are at the forefront of driving foreign direct investment into Nigeria through real estate sector, what informed that decision, the success story and the challenge?
Investing in real estate in the UK has always been very easy, all one had to do was buy any property and watch the value double in a few years. The UK government has now brought in lots of tax and mortgage lending policies to slow than this trend. Combination of government policies is making investing in the real estate sector in the UK more and more challenging on a daily basis.

We saw this as an opportunity to introduce our UK diaspora clients to a new market, Nigeria. The main challenges we had were perception and lack of information. The ordinary Nigerian in the diaspora has only heard stories about people being sold land by those who don’t own the land etc. Stories about tenants not paying rents for years and you can’t get them out of the properties.