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Experts canvass cooperative housing financing system

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Cooperative housing expert from Kenya, David Ndegwa (left); keynote speaker and former Managaing Director, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company, Prof. Charles Inyangete, Representative of Minister of Works and Housing, Mrs. Eucharia Alozie and Managing Director, Nigeria Integrated Social Housing (NISH)Affordable Housing Limited, Dr. Yemi Adelakun during the forum in Abuja

Industry leaders have argued that to significantly reduce estimated 22 million housing deficit, there is an urgent need to start a cooperative housing financing system to deliver affordable houses in the country.
 
They also said that housing finance is critical in the construction of houses for high, medium and low-income earners, adding that we have what it takes to develop the real estate sector for affordability.
 
One of them, Dr. Roland Igbinoba of Pison Housing firm, explained that the Federal Housing Authority, FHA has not built houses less than N10 million, and most citizens cannot afford such amount for houses.
 
Speaking at third Nigeria Affordable Housing Finance and Innovation Summit and Expo (NAHFIS) organised organised by NISH Affordable Housing Limited, he stated that financial institutions created to help citizens in this direction have failed to achieve their mandates, so they have not addressed the issue of financing and the gap still exists.
 
The key speaker, Prof. Charles Inyangette of Innovative Risk and Investment Solutions Limited, argued that with about 22 million housing deficit, we would need to build 730,000 units annually.
 
Having said this, he, therefore, hinted that to bridge the housing funding gap, Nigeria needed an estimate of N53.95 trillion to meet with the deficit, urging the government to work on information and data on housing
 
Another speaker, managing director of Family Homes Fund, Femi Adewole, opined that the federal government was running a small budget for the housing sector, which means the capital market is a shadow.
 
He, therefore, called for more improvement level of saving for affordable apartments for 200 million Nigerians, stressing that most people invest less in order to own houses, but put money on handsets.
 
Noting that in Germany, citizens own 66 per cent of houses, Adewole said that the government is the big key player in financing housing. 20million people saving N2000 for apartments are realisable.
 
Contributing to the discourse, the Managing Director, NISH Affordable Housing Limited, Dr. Yemi Adelakun, enumerated the benefits of cooperative housing to include social capital formation, collective bargaining.
 
Others he said include, financial inclusiveness, cost-effectiveness, affordability and security of tenure, business and investment opportunities.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola represented by Mrs. Eucharia Alozie argued that housing is a reality of human existence and no nation can excel without first addressing the challenge. He said the summit would provide an opportunity to review strategies, galvanize support and articulate road maps for implementation purposes for affordable housing.

He enjoined participants not to hesitate to proffer additional solutions to the housing problem of the country stressing that there is no running away from innovative solutions to housing delivery.

“Government is working assiduously to ensure shelter for the citizenries through innovative approaches. Some of the strategies and tools would be discussed briefly. The focus is shifting to Cooperatives and Rent-to-Own initiatives. Government is working on policy regime that would bring about flexible terms and conditions for obtaining housing finance and mortgage loans”, she said.

The minister emphasized that the government was prioritizing cooperatives through institutionalizing a National Cooperative Housing Initiative to be anchored and financed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) under its existing cooperative housing loan window.

He said, “The scheme would incorporate those in the formal and informal sectors and would be launched in the first quarter of 2020 in each geo-political zones.”

Similarly, Dr. Chamberlain Peterside of Xcellon Company said the government is currently at a cross-road as it faces quite a formidable domestic fiscal challenge, in terms of the debt stock and service payment.
 
Earlier, the chairman of the occasion, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, stated that for Nigeria to achieve the desired housing objectives, there must relax some regulations, increase in funding adoption of modern technology.


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