21 September 2017

Nigeria: Emefiele Identifies Bottlenecks to Mortgage Financing

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele has identified various bottlenecks hindering genuine investors and by extension free flow of funds into the mortgage sector.

The central bank governor while delivering a keynote address at a workshop for judicial officers on mortgage, with the theme: 'Mortgage Disputes in Nigeria: The Need for Expeditious Resolution of Case,' in Abuja yesterday, noted that, "land tenure system as enshrined in the Land Use Act of 1978 has deterred proper development of a robust and sustainable housing sector in Nigeria."

Emefiele also disclosed that difficulties in delivering affordable housing to low and middle income households wherein lies the greatest demand for housing as another major drawback.

Speaking further, the Governor acknowledged limited access to housing and mortgage financing, complications in enforcing mortgage contracts and foreclosure on properties in Nigerian courts, slow bureaucratic procedures in land administration and high cost of land registration as serious impediments to adequate housing delivery in Nigeria.

He also identified high rate of population growth, high rate of rural-urban migration and exorbitant cost of construction materials as other problems militating against the robust development of housing and mortgage sectors in the country.

While advocating for more protection of property and contract rights, the Governor commended some states in the country that had undertaken reforms aimed at improving access to courts and expressed optimism that the initiatives being championed by the Nigeria Housing Finance Program (NHFP) may present viable models for tackling teething problems confronting the housing sector in the country.

However, he reiterated the need to take urgent action aimed at expediting judicial process for adjudicating on mortgages and other commercial disputes.

"It is generally acknowledged that one of the modern-day determinants of development in any environment is the effective protection of property and contract rights. This in itself requires a modest legal infrastructure embedding precise rules that are easily enforceable.

"I would like to commend several states of the federation that have undertaken reforms aimed at improving access to courts as well as a speedy disposal of disputes, including the reform of civil procedure rules, automation of courts, introduction of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms like mediation, conciliation and arbitration; as well as the designation of some courts in the Judicial divisions in some states as Reserve Courts for specific matters," he added.

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