‘Nigeria must revitalise mortgage system to boost housing’

Until Nigeria revitalises its mortgage system and increase the financing of the housing sector because it is capital intensive, the sector will continue to suffer and gross deficit of shelter will continue in the nation.

This was the view of an housing expert and former President of Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Mr Bala Bawa Ka’Oje, recently in Lagos.

According to him, the nation’s housing and construction sectors have been faced with massive underfunding over the years, a development he said had brought about stunted growth and near-zero development of the sectors.

He noted that when properly guided and monitored, the construction sector could provide a veritable avenue for millions of people to be employed, thereby helping the economic growth and development of the country.

“We have a mortgage system that is not functioning well, and yet there is little or nothing that can be achieved in the housing and construction sector without adequate funding. This is because housing projects all over the world are generally capital intensive,” Ka’Oje said.

The ex-APBN boss who is also an expert and professional builder and estate developer insisted that lack of funding or access to mortgage facility had stalled many housing projects across the country, while also arguing that it was only in Nigeria that one would be required to provide almost 100 percent of the amount required to build a house.

“It is only in Nigeria that one will be expected to about 100 per cent of the cost of construction a house before one can own a house, but in other countries of the world it is not so. At time you will be expected to have just a fraction of what is needed while the rest would be spread over a period of years through mortgage,” he noted.

In the meantime, Mr Ka’Oje also opined that corruption which had eaten deep into the fabrics of the political system of the country was also having its toll on many developmental projects in the country including housing.

“Given the indices of national development, Nigeria should be closed to the promise land of actualising the dreams of the transformation that we all clamour for. All hands must be on deck.

“Double attention is required to checkmate the large propensity for corruption in the system, address the power sector reform, fix our infrastructural needs, fix employment, fix education, fix health and housing needs and also increase our general productivity level,” he submitted.