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Why estate devt loan scheme is failing – Chime

Can you give us your little background and how you found yourself in housing development?I am a surveyor and I worked in the Ministry of…

Can you give us your little background and how you found yourself in housing development?
I am a surveyor and I worked in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development for15 years before going into private practice in 1995. My academic pursuit led me to obtain degrees in Geography; Surveying, Geodesy and Photogrammetry and Management, all from the University of Nigeria. Surveying is still my core discipline which I started being involved in from my childhood and I practise it till date, having attained the status of a fellow of Nigerian Institution of Surveying (FNIS).
 Being in the housing sector for a long time now, how would you assess various schemes and programs on housing development in Nigeria, especially in line with the role of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) in reducing the housing deficit?
Let me say FMBN has done well within the ambit of available opportunities, but a lot more should be done.
They initiated the Estate Development Loan as a way of ensuring that the products (houses) for mortgage are available. Unfortunately they have failed to continuously engage the key stakeholders in process improvement. This has resulted in the good intention but very bad execution that we have seen over the years in their quest as custodians of the National Housing Fund to reduce the housing deficit.
Their failure to put in place an evaluation mechanism that involves key stakeholders, especially REDAN, is tragic to say the least. I empathize greatly with developers whose desire to succeed in delivering on their estate development promise is being hampered by forces outside their control/ability. What I saw while sitting for almost a year as a member of the FMBN/REDAN EDL BAD DEBT COMMITTEE (2009/2010) weighed me down deeply. The developer suffers greatly whatever problem we have with any stakeholder involved in the transaction dynamics – failure on the part of government, primary mortgage bank, FMBN, landowners etc, to deliver on their role results in the developer being blamed.
What people are interested in are finished houses and not stories. An isolated failure on the part of one developer any where is used as a pretext for the enactment of unfriendly policies that induce stress on others. Yet, the success of many developers is not analyzed and used to improve the system. The current notion that the problem is with developers alone is erroneous and very unhelpful. I invite some of the armchair critics to invest in housing sector and experience firsthand the huge problems in the sector. It calls for an urgent review and reappraisal of the value chain to ensure equity and justice, for us to have standard products.
 As an active member of Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), how would you assess the body performers in protecting its members’ interest?
Well, I would not say REDAN has been in oblivion because as you said, I am a member of REDAN and I have held positions of authority in the association. My assessment of the association at the moment would be that we have achieved a lot over the years. It was the proactive engagement/advocacy by REDAN that resulted in many of the changes we see in the housing industry. For example, the REDAN-FMBN Estate Development Loan (EDL) committee which was an alternative dispute resolution body enlightened FMBN as to their culpability on the EDL bad loans and they saw the need/agreed to grant interest waiver because of the pressures and inputs of REDAN.
REDAN is not just about FMBN as there are a million other things the association could do particularly in the area of education of its members on the mechanisms of Real Estate Development, Construction approaches, Sources and mechanisms of loan acquisition, etc. On Advocacy, our voice should be heard more at the National Assembly and other organs of Government, helping them in policy formulation and other issues regarding the housing sector.
I believe we have rested on our oars for a long time and there is the need for the association to stop basking on old glory but must pick itself up through unification of distant members, creation of quality programmes for its members and the housing sector at large.
It is a fact that REDAN came into being via the instrumentality of government as a means to availability and affordability of houses for mortgage. But the reality is that the real estate transcends affordable residential real estate and mass housing.
 You are interested in the office of the President of REDAN, if and when elected, what areas do you intend to delve into, to ensure that the nation’s huge housing deficit is reduced?
God Almighty alone determines who does what, when, how, where etc. As one who was privileged to have been actively involved in REDAN from inception at Chelsea Hotel in 2002, and has been devoted to the attainment of its set objectives, I feel that we urgently need to change our game dynamically.
The current President Chief Bode Afolayan has tried his best in moving the association forward. Name recognition and engagement of all the various stakeholders has been sustained for REDAN under his leadership. Affiliation and networking with various organizations like NAHB, Shelter Afrique, etc have been enhanced.
Yet, the challenge facing the housing and REDAN members is huge and expanding, and therefore calls for more articulated and united REDAN that will ensure that a roadmap like we had in our business plan produced in 2010 is effectively executed and monitored under a united REDAN.
Our members who are not taking construction loans from FMBN including those not engaged in residential development should have some benefits from the association. Those who are engaged in commercial and industrial real estate development have the same challenges with land, funding, approvals, titling etc and they should be catered for.

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