NMRC: FG launches first 10,000 mortgages for affordable homes

By The Citizen

The Federal Government yesterday in Abuja launched the first 10,000 mortgages for affordable homes scheme.

Speaking at the launch in Abuja, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the Federal Government's 10,000 mortgage scheme was inspired by President Goodluck Jonathan's pledge on January 16, 2014 when he launched the Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company (NMRC) with a view to making mortgage accessible to Nigerians to enable them purchase and own their own homes.

'Today marks the actualisation of Mr. President's pledge to Nigerians through this first 10,000 mortgages scheme. Nigerians can now apply and be pre-qualified for 10,000 mortgages to be provided by lenders most of whom are here present with us. (Can they all stand up and be recognised?) They will now be able to provide many more mortgages because of the NMRC.

'The NMRC is set up as a re-financing vehicle to provide mortgage lending institutions with increased access to liquidity and long-term funds. Since the ability of banks to deliver mortgage services is limited by the fact that 80 per cent of all banks' deposits are for 30 days only, the NMRC, in ensuring greater access to finance for tenors of up to 20 years, will help accelerate the growth of the mortgage market for all income levels. Pre-qualification for a mortgage is a critical first step to home ownership. Once you are pre-qualified for a mortgage by a lender you are literally better armed and emboldened to look for a home to buy, within the limits of the mortgage provided. With the 10,000 mortgages scheme, Nigerians can now begin to realise their dream of owning a home and look forward to improved socio-economic outcomes,' she said.

Okonjo-Iweala also stated that the scheme is a private sector driven initiative, which the Federal Government initiated with strong support from NMRC and primary mortgage institutions and implemented in partnership with 21 pilot states.

She said that unlike the existing mortgage scheme, which tenor is not more than 36 months, with the establishment of NMRC, mortgage subscribers can pay back between 15 and 20 years.

According to her, the scheme is part of Federal Government's programme to help tackle the country's 17 million housing deficit in a comprehensive and sustainable way, pointing out that the scheme is being coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development with strong support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the World Bank, the African Development Bank (ADB), among others.

She also remarked that those who want to buy houses of N20 million or below were welcome to register, while husband and wife can also apply jointly, noting that each applicant must show evidence of regular income from his or her current employment, tax compliance and other requirements.

'People who are self-employed may also qualify provided they show evidence of regular income and a bank account. For self-employed persons, drawings from their businesses will be used as evidence of income,' she further explained.

Also, Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi, promised that her ministry was prepared to provide all the necessary inputs that needed for the programme to succeed, while commending some state governments for collaborating with the Federal Government on the scheme.