Relevant stakeholders in the real estate industry have asked the incoming government to pay close attention to housing institutions to perform their roles in an effective manner. Recently, some quarters argued that the incoming government should merge housing finance institutions, an example is the Family Homes Funds Limited (FHFL), Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) and Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) — as an entity. However, the experts who spoke requested necessary supports for the institutions to efficiently perform their tasks rather than merge.
Festus Adebayo-led African International Housing Show’s social media platform hosted the discussion which was led by the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eximia Realty, Hakeem Ogunniran. In his discussion, he urged the Tinubu-led administration to ensure smooth operation of institutions in the housing sector so as to ensure efficient value delivery. He emphasized that provision of the right level of resources for delivery rather than the proposed merge would significantly contribute to the strengthening of the institutions.
These institutions play important roles in Nigeria’s housing ecosystem.
Vice Chairman of the board of the Africa International Housing Show, Ogunniran, firmly asserted that he stands against merging of the institutions. He said that with the huge housing deficit in Nigeria, the Family Homes Funds should be improved to recreate its focus on social housing and subsidized housing, adding that the mandate of FHFL is different from the mandate of NMRC. Funding for housing refers to construction finance and housing finance. A mortgage refinancing institution like NMRC should play a significant role in provision of liquidity that fuels progress.
Today, NMRC is struggling and unable to gain its stand due to creation of inadequate assets, even when these assets are created, there is insufficient creation of mortgages. As a result, NMRC has nothing to finance. Ogunniran advised that experts calmly gather better understanding of the advantages of these institutions in Nigeria’s housing ecosystem with proper structure and regulations. The housing ecosystem in Nigeria will be beneficiary with proper delineation and appropriate integration of their functions.
FG should provide housing intervention funds for investment in housing.
According to Ogunniran, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) performs a special function but its inability to prosper as expected is due to the federal government’s inability to “build to scale”. Therefore, he urged the government to provide housing intervention funds to enhance investment in housing and to ensure creation of more job opportunities which would in turn grow the economy. Fonahanmi Idris, another industry expert, spoke similar words, including the distinctive but complementary roles of these institutions.
Additionally, Former Managing Director and Chief Executive, NMRC, Professor Charles Inyangete, stated that this functional approach ought to be preferred to institutional approach. He added that if what the institutions require to operate effectively is a change or reformation, then it should be done. In his opinion, governance is good start regardless of the adopted approach. To make NMRC a full government-owned institution requires serious processes as it is a private sector-owned company; the government would need to buy out all private sector shareholders.
Collaboration would help improvement of the industry.
Managing Director and Co-Founder at Alitheia Capital, Jumoke Akinwunmi, suggested that the institutions force collaboration and allow the expertise of one enable the others for the good of the industry. The idea behind the merging is the fact that many housing institutions are merged and those that are not merged always force collaboration for the industry’s good. Also, Group Managing Director, COPEN Group, Ugochukwu Chime, stated that it is time to separate the Ministry of Works and Housing as they ought to be regulators.