Mortgage firm calls for subsidising of housing sector
AS the mortgage finance sub-sector face shortage of long term funds, one of the primary mortgage banks – Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc has advised the Federal Government to put in place policies that will ensure that the housing sector is subsidised in the country.
The Managing Director, Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc, Mr. Banjo Obaleye, who stated this during the bank’s 2015 End of Year /Long Service Award Ceremony, in Abuja, noted that the desire of most Nigerians, especially the low income earners, to have access to affordable houses would not be achieved unless the Federal Government take deliberate steps towards removing all bottlenecks associated with home ownership in the country.
According to him, “ For housing to be affordable to people, government has a leading role to play. Specifically, in the area of social housing, about 80 percent of it has to be subsidised by the Government because we have done a lot of affordability test and we discovered that even for someone in the position an Assistant Director the Civil Service to be able to pay for mortgages with the double digit interest rate is very, very difficult unless the person is stealing money.
Obaleye identified the current difficulty in the transfer of property rights as one the bottlenecks that needed to be urgently addressed by the government. “There are so many things that are wrong in our system with respect to ease of accessing mortgage, and this includes even our salary system .For instance, if you go back to the 80’s when naira was stronger than the dollar and look at the salary being paid to civil servants then and compare it to what is obtainable now. You will discover that with the current scenario, having access to decent housing, especially in the urban areas, will still be unaffordable to most Nigerians, unless government does a lot of things. One of these, is that government has to remove all the bottlenecks that surrounds the transfer of property and the costs.
It really beats my imagination that the government is talking about affordable housing is bringing complications that negates the quest for the delivery of affordable housing. However, in order to remove these bottlenecks, all the institutions of government have to synchronise their systems to work towards the same goal. When we are saying the cost of housing should come down, then government should make sure that it really come down by showing genuine commitment,” he said
He added, “As experts and major players in the mortgage sector, we have better understanding of the challenges militating against the sector. This why we are advising that housing has to be looked at from two perspectives: welfare and business. If you don’t take these together, you will not get it.”
“Without government support, it will be impossible for the private sector to drive the housing in such a way that everybody will have it.”
You see, that there is imbalance in the distribution of wealth in any country, and housing is the most single expensive commodity in every household priority item. So, it is something that you need to plan for a long time. Therefore, for people to be able to log in to this, especially for those low and middle income earners, government support is needed.
Earlier, Chairman of the Bank, Mr. Yinka Bibilari urged Nigerians to key into the bank’s products, adding that they provide the surest routes to owning decent and affordable home in ownership in Nigeria..
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