FG Must Subsidise Housing to Bridge Deficit, Says Expert

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James Emejo in Abuja

An investment banker, Prof. Charles Inyangete has advised the federal government to subsidise mortgage financing in order to enable Nigerians have access to affordable housing as well as bridge the current housing deficit.

He said this became necessary given that the current environment does not support single digit interest rate.

Speaking in an interview with THISDAY at the recent FM Forum 2019, organised by Total Facilities Management Limited, he argued that the only effective means of mortgage financing was through a subsidised arrangement where the “funds are practically given through budget and the funds are not looking at the market.”

He wondered that with inflation in the country presently above 10 per cent, “how can you have loans that are lower than 10 per cent?”

“It requires government support and innovation in the way we build, we need to use technology to making housing cheaper and we need to look for materials for building, we need to be more local in use of materials,” he added.

He added that, “there is no need building massive houses for people who cannot afford them.

“The reality is that financing in Nigeria is very expensive, we are looking at interest rates that are double digits – may be 15, 16 even 20 per cent and above.

“So if you are going to finance mortgage which is a long term commitment, it goes to reason that the interest rate will be high.  

“That is the essence for those government policies for instance, the Federal Mortgage Bank offering things that are cheaper.

“But still, when you think of the resources required, it means it needs more than just a mortgage bank need to offer facilities at single digit which is what people want in the long term.”

Inyangete, who is the Executive Chairman, Innovative Risks and Investment Solutions (IRIS) Limited said, “even before those loans we need to have the houses, if you have the loans and you don’t have the houses that are affordable, it does not make much difference to your position.”

He said there are fewer houses available that are affordable for people at the moment.

He explained, “the houses that we have are not affordable. You find empty houses here in Abuja and so we need to build many more houses that are affordable.

“Also, the financing of those houses from the buyer’s point of view, that requires that we have mortgage institutions that are able to deliver more affordable funding for housing.”

Also, speaking at the occasion, Managing Director, Total Facilities Management Limited, Mrs. Nwando Chukwurah, bemoaned the current state of facilities management in the country.

She said the challenge still bothered on creating awareness, adding that the facility management (FM) space was still not regulated in the country.

She, however, expressed optimism the bill seeking to establish a regulatory institution for facilities management in the country, which is before the National Assembly, would be passed soon, to address some of the challenges.

According to her, funding, awareness and standardisation remained some of the issues confronting the FM sector till date.

Chukwurah said: “The bill is trying to get us to own our institution so that we can adapt to our peculiar environment. The bill will help us to create our own profession so we can have facilities managers practice in Nigeria, being aware of our environment and owning our own association.

“So, once it is registered and standardised, we can then jump, move and practice.”

She said: “We are still behind but we are coming up. We are not where it needs to be, it is still evolving. There are lots to be done and lot of awareness to be created and that is why we are having a forum like this to keep telling ourselves what should be done, telling the society what else can be done for the build environment for us to enjoy our environment.”

She added that the forum was organised to commemorate this year’s World FM Day celebration.