How To Reduce Nigeria’s Housing Deficit — Ify Umunnakwe Okeke

 Ify Umunnakwe Okeke

Ify Umunnakwe Okeke

 

In order to reduce Nigeria’s housing deficit, Chief Executive Officer of Lexon Capital, Mrs Ify Umunnakwe-Okeke, has called for Public Private Partnerships (PPP) that encompasses granting of affordable housing in exchange for land allocation as one of the ways out. Disclosing this during the just concluded Abuja International Housing show, which drew participants all over the world, Umunnakwe-Okeke, urged the government to establish and implement monetary and fiscal policies to stimulate rapid economic recovery; lower interest rates for developers and purchasers; and ensure easier access to construction funding on less restrictive terms.

“A housing fund targeted at developers will help bridge the liquidity gap,” she said in her presentation on ‘Housing Finance in a Post COVID-19 Era: Lessons and Opportunities for Emerging Markets.’

According to her, there was a need to encourage local manufacturing of building materials, and to also increase earnings of salaried workers in the public sector to get people on the housing ladder earlier.

“There is need for improved Technical Schools to boost supply of skilled and semi skilled labour force and also improve re-mortgaging processes and options,” she added.

She suggested that the Primary Mortgage Institutions (PMIs) should be moved from the National Housing Fund (NHF) structure to providing liquidity to primary lenders and promotion of a secondary market, while ensuring better certification processes and building codes for structural quality and delivery times.

She mulled the need for the Central Bank to provide liquidity for DMBs through swapping of mortgage assets with treasury bills.

According to her, there was a need to reduce statutory costs for land transactions and give tax waivers or incentives to developers of affordable housing.

She warned that failure to stem the growing deficit in the supply of affordable housing would have severe impact on the social and economic development of the country.

According to her, one of the challenges developers faced in the sector was about bridging the gap between the developer’s exit and the investor’s entry, pointing out that only adequate financing could bridge this gap efficiently and drive a reduction in housing deficit.

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