Nigerian government rolls off mortgage scheme for 10,000 beneficiaries

Nigerians now have the chance to realize their dream of owning a home.

The Federal Government on Thursday launched the first mortgage scheme for 10,000 beneficiaries aimed at redressing the constraints posed by poor access to finance in the development of affordable housing in the country.

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said at the formal roll-off of the scheme in Abuja that the scheme was in fulfillment of President Goodluck Jonathan’s pledge at the launching of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company, NMRC in January to deliver the first 10,000 mortgages before the third quarter of 2014.

The NMRC is a re-financing vehicle set up to provide mortgage lending institutions with increased access to liquidity and long-term funds to augment the limited capacity of banks to deliver mortgage services to Nigerians.

Under the scheme, the NMRC is guaranteed to provide Nigerians access to finance by lender for tenors of up to 20 years to help accelerate the growth of the mortgage market for all income levels in the country.

With the launch of the scheme, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said Nigerians now have the chance to realize their dream of owning a home and looking forward to improved socio-economic conditions.

The scheme, she said, was aimed primarily at the first time home buyer who is in the market for mortgages to purchase a home costing between N2 million and no more than N20 million.

To qualify as a beneficiary of a mortgage under the scheme, the prospective home owner must be pre-qualified to look for a home to buy, within the limits of the mortgage provided.

Interested mortgage applicants are required to access a dedicated online portal for the scheme – to go through a checklist of eligibility requirements to verify his or her status as a tax-paying Nigerian, who is a first time home buyer with a regular income.

Once eligibility of the applicant has been established, he would be directed to complete and submit a form requesting his personal and employer’s details, state of origin and residence as well as salary range.

The completed form would then be printed or directed online to a mortgage lender of his choice for further processing for prequalification.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said new mortgage underwriting standards prescribed by the NMRC has cut down the processing time for prequalification from between 6 and 12 months to an average of 3 and 6 weeks, subject to the level of risk analyses by the mortgage lender.

“Making home ownership an accessible dream for many more Nigerians can only impact positively on our economy,” the minister said. “It will lead to the increased contribution of housing to GDP from the current negligible 3.1 per cent of our rebased GDP to the high teens of emerging and developed economies such a Malaysia and the United States.”
Besides, she said, the scheme would facilitate the creation of more jobs and greater economic inclusion, as an estimated three new direct and eight indirect jobs would be created from every new house built.

“Unlocking the housing sector will mean the creation of thousands of jobs for architects, builders, plumbers, welders, electricians, painters and other artisans in allied small and medium scale industries,” the minister said.

To further enhance access to the scheme, the Minister said the Federal Government has reviewed other key constraints to home ownership, namely land availability, simplifying the processes for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy and property registration.

To minimize the bureaucracy associated with these processes, she said government has initiated a pilot scheme in the states, with the support of some state governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

The scheme, which is in support of the NMRC initiative to create the environment for mortgage refinanced by NMRC, involves property registration, enforcement of mortgage property and access to serviced land.

The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Akon Eyakenyi, said increased land data base would help government equate the population to determine the gap in the housing sector.

She said government was also considering the training of young people, particularly artisans involved in the development of the sector as a strategy for job creation.

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