Going by the alleged inefficiencies associated with some of the government’s housing agencies, professionals in the sector are canvassing the commercialisation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA).

According to one of the professionals, Adeleye Banjo, commercializing FMBN would bring efficiency without necessarily losing the welfare part of its functions as a government’s vehicle on housing.

Citing Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), another professional, Emmanuel Akinwumi, said that CMHC has declared paying dividends of approximately CA$1 billion to its shareholder (government of Canada) “when our own “CMHC” in Nigeria called FMBN is still begging our own government (FGN) for more alms.

“This is the basis of my unrelentless calls for commercialization of the FMBN. It is rather disturbing and at the same time astonishing that a country’s successive political leadership continued to bury hidden treasures all over the country.

“I am a private sector expert  but I do not believe that all crawling institutions of government should be privatised.”

However, he urged the government to commercialise the FMBN and let it be managed in line with world-class best practices.

He said: “Let it mimic the likes of CMHC and start generating financial and non-financial dividends to Nigeria and Nigerians.

“Commercialized FMBN may provide innovative solutions to most of the nagging problems bedevilling housing development and finance sub-sector be it the issues of collapsed buildings, housing data, mortgage default insurance, affordable construction and finance, R&D, regulations, compliance, land tenure management, speedy transfer of title and speedy dispensation of justice in housing development, finance and ownership, legal, training and capacity building, transparency, digitalisation, green technologies, investment, securitization, brokerage and referrals, benchmarking, government relations, default management, anti-fraud issues and punishment, etc.”

Supporting the discussion on the Festus Adebayo-led Housing Development Advocacy Network’s social media platform, real estate practitioner, Mr Femi Oyedele, urged that organisations like FMBN, FHA and others should be commercialised.

Justifying the proposal, he explained that government and its agents did not have a business doing business.

He said: “Government should turn FMBN to a limited by guarantee company and set performance targets or else, FMBN should be restructured as a social loans providers to first term low-income earners for their basic housing.

“There are lots we can learn in Nigeria housing through adopting ‘Scottish Housing Regulators’ approach to housing provision.”

Another professional on the platform said that Nigeria needed to break out of the self-imposed and inflicted norm and release the positive energy that would be of immense benefit to Nigerians as a whole.

“The CMHC or Fannie Mae /Fannie Mac models are perfect case studies. This would, no doubt, enhance mortgage securitization and the secondary mortgage market. Hence making funds readily available to lenders and potential homeowners at affordable rates,” he said.

According to him, this would subsequently encourage commercial lending to developers by money deposit banks knowing fully well that the capacity to off-take exists within the citizenry.

Contrary to the proposal, former President of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Rev. Ugochukwu Chime, raised a poser concerning the commercialisation of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), saying: “How far with your commercialized NMRC?”

According to him, every silo attempt at resolving the challenges of evolving a workable housing ecosystem will always collapse.

“What we are facing is more endemic and massive than we think,” he said.

A Lagos-based estate surveying and valuation practitioner, Mr Sola Enitan, explained that commercialisation of institutional infrastructure would always leave society holding the short end of the stick and engendered a disservice to all.

“Social responsibility and institutional development framework are what these organisations are supposed to propagate.

“I totally abhor commercialisation of such structures. If the government cannot support institutions until financial benefits come in the mould revenue then the leadership have no business in government,” he said.

Source : Nigerian Tribune