To boost diaspora remittances, the Federal Government has launched a homeownership scheme for Nigerians living abroad.

The collaborative effort between the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), will ensure prospective subscribers buy or build houses in the country.

FMBN Executive Director, Lukman Mustapha, who disclosed this at the National Diaspora Day 2022 celebration in Abuja recently, which had as theme, ‘Diaspora Engagement in a Globally Challenging Time,’ explained that the action became necessary following tales of woes by Diaspora Nigerians, who have been swindled or defrauded by estate agents, friends and relatives, while trying to acquire houses in Nigeria.

“Nigerians in Diaspora want to own, build or acquire their own houses. But we have heard or seen cases of these Nigerians being swindled or duped in the process of trying to own a house in Nigeria. This is why FMBN and NIDCOM came up with a scheme that will enable them to take loans and buy their houses,” he said.

The celebration, according to Ibrahim Gambari, President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff, who represented the president at the event, was part of the Diaspora Policy of 2021.

NIDCOM celebrated this year’s event in partnership with Palton Morgan Holdings, a real estate investment and development firm that focuses on ultra-luxury developments delivered with great architecture that appeals to the taste and class of Diasporan Nigerians.

The company’s group Chief Operating Officer (GCOO), Nidal Turjman, noted that the company and its subsidiaries have strategically positioned themselves in the real estate sector as a notable player in the industry for over 12 years, with operations spanning across Lagos, Ogun and Abuja.

“Over the years, we have created and deployed economic strategies that have improved the industry and made the industry more attractive for Nigerians both at home and abroad to invest in their own country.

“With a track record of over 7,000 housing units and serviced plots delivered and, about 2,000 units still under development, we have positioned ourselves as a leader of the industry,” Turjman said, citing The Oceanna, Paramount Twin Towers, Skyvilla, Claren Villas, The Meadows as some of the iconic developments they have in their portfolio.

“It is our vision as an organization to be a preferred real estate development brand in Africa and beyond. I must tell you that we are almost accomplishing this vision of the founders of our great organisation,” he added.

Palton Morgan is one organisation that believes in the great potential of the real estate sector in Nigeria and its capacity to transform the economy of the nation. This, according to the Group Chief Operating Officer, explains the heavy investment they have made in the sector.

He assured the Diaspora Nigerians that the sector is a good destination for investment, noting that the country’s housing deficit still stands at more than 20 million units, which is a huge opportunity for investors.

“This is the highest housing deficit in Africa and we at Palton Morgan believe that the sector can live to its full potential with the right developers who have got the actual pedigree and, of course, financial and technical capability supported by right policies from government,” he said.

Earlier, NIDCOM’S Chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, commended Nigerians in Diaspora for their interest in the country’s economic growth, adding that, in the last two years, the world has had the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war and the economic melt-down, yet Diasporan Nigerians have helped the economy through their remittances.

“There is insecurity all over the world. But, be that as it may, Nigerians in Diaspora have continued to give back to Nigeria; despite all the challenges, they remitted $20billion last year,” she said.

An unconfirmed report says that about 10 per cent of these remittances went into real estate and this explains why many of the estate developers, especially those playing in the luxury segment of the market like Palton Morgan, have their products targeted at Nigerians in Diaspora.

It was interesting hearing out a couple of Nigerians in Diaspora who have, in spite of all odds, come home and invested in Nigeria and these are primary consumers of real estate products that the suppliers are addressing with the right products.

Dauda Balami of Foxglove Multi-specialist Hospital, Abuja introduced a clinic he set up in 2019 to carter for patients suffering from heart diseases. According to him, two years after, the clinic has provided 70-80 percent of Cardiac investigations in that specialty.

It has also carried out treatments ranging from basic ECG to the setting of coronary artery. “We have performed approximately 350 cardiac procedures in the last 18 months. You don’t really need to go anywhere if you have heart disease,” Balami assured.

Another Diasporan Nigeria who did not disclose his identity said he has a transport initiative he has launched, noting that what he has started would eventually be like a Bolt or Uber system for intercity travel. “We are not doing anything new; we are just copying what is happening in other places like the UK and bringing it home,” he said.

John Godson Abraham of Pilgrim Ranch presented what was more like advice. He shared some of the lessons he said he has learnt in the last six years of investing in Nigeria. He advised that investors should diversify their businesses.
He added that they should be flexible and be part of the various parts of the value chain. “Be ready to adapt to the environment; keep on at it; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But in the end, you will definitely win,” he assured.

In apparent reference to the current economic hardship in the country, the representative of Nasarawa State governor noted that at no other time than now, in the political growth and evolution of Nigeria, does the country need Nigerians in the Diaspora more.

The country, he explained, needed their broad world view, expertise and the education they have acquired across the shores as they carry Nigeria in their hearts and actions. He urged the Diasporans to be the change they want to see in Nigeria because it is their country.