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UPDC canvasses use of N13 trillion pension fund to tackle homelessness

By Victor Gbonegun
14 March 2022   |   3:37 am
With rapid growth of Nigerian population and economic downturn, UPDC has reiterated calls for the unlocking of over N13 trillion pension funds to improve homes’ accessibility and ownership among Nigerians.

With rapid growth of Nigerian population and economic downturn, UPDC has reiterated calls for the unlocking of over N13 trillion pension funds to improve homes’ accessibility and ownership among Nigerians.

The group also urged advocacy that will make the industry attractive for property investors such as improvement on the review of the land tenure system, Land Use Act.

Statistics from the National Pension Commission show that pension assets in Nigeria rose by N190 billion in January 2022, hitting N13. 61 trillion.

Pension operators have invested N8.35 trillion in Federal Government securities, while N2.28 trillion and N123. 4 billion were invested in mutual funds.

Speaking with newsmen in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer, UPDC, Mr. Odunayo Ojo, said there was need to pass regulation that strengthen advocacy for Nigerians to be able to use their pension contributions as equity for housing.

He said: “ The pension assets is over N13 trillion of fund and by regulation can only be invested through instrument such as treasury bills, government bonds. They can now invest in real estate development trust for example as one of the viable investments.”

What a pension account holder needs to do is to meet a developer and signify interest.”

Ojo, who said the firm is a member of Real Estate Developers Association (REDAN), Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Nigerian lnstitute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) and Nigerian lnstitute of Building (NIOB) and other organisations pushing for policy reform of the industry, explained about 20 million houses are needed to house Nigerians.

Ojo said that the economic recession of 2015, affected the firm, however, said it has bounced back and reduced its debt from N21 billion to N6 billion.

He said UPDC now has over N22 billion in assets portfolio, a 471-room hotel, 30 estates under management, over 1,000 residential units built and one large retail mall.

According to him, the firm was leveraging on its 25 years reputation for delivering of standard projects, coordinating efficient development/asset management value chains, offering facility management services and restructure of its hotel project.

He further disclosed that UPDC is refocusing on provision of middle-income housing across the country, as findings show that a lot of demand exists in the segment for the working class.

“Recently, UPDC’s interest in Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) was unbundled to its shareholders. UPDC holds five per cent residual in the RElT as sponsor. The company is strengthening its capital structure by raising of N16 billion via rights issue, operating now as a subsidiary of Custodian Investment Plc and as an associate company to UAC. UPDC was able to refinance its debt obligations at a significantly lower cost (16 per cent to 9 per cent. We have signed two development management mandates with Ocean City Lagos, Sterling Assets Management and Trustees Limited for 54 unit estate development advisory,” he said.