Stakeholders in the housing sector have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to invest recovered money illegally taken from public treasury into housing development.
Speaking at the Real Estate Roundtable and Exhibition in Abuja on Thursday, investors observed that shortage of housing finance can be tackled if recovered “Abacha Loot” and money seized from those who stole in public office is invested into housing.
Abuja-based estate developer Peter Okolo started it when he directed attention to money recently returned to Nigeria as Abacha Loot.
“Abacha looted funds, $322 million should be invested in housing. Abacha loot and other loots should be passed to the Federal Mortgage Bank for housing,” Okolo said.
This received applause from the gathering.
Kayode Omotoso who is Executive Secretary, Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN) recalled that a similar call was made during President Olusegun Obasanjo administration that proceeds from sale of government property be used as housing intervention fund but no action was taken.
Also speaking the Managing Director of Urban Shelter Ltd, Mrs Sa’adiya Aminu lamented that government has not considered putting intervention fund in housing because housing is taken to be high-end.
There was also call for the recapitalisation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) from its current base of N2.5 billion to N500 billion.
Reacting to this, the president of the Real Estate Developers Association of (REDAN), Mr Chime Ugochukwu noted that issues that hinder smooth running of the bank must be done away with.
He called for stricter supervision in the housing industry.
While opening the event, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola urged landlords to consider collecting rent in arrears.
He urged property owners to appreciate the plight of the low-income earners arguing that salary earners do not receive salary in advance.
According to Fashola, “Even my salary as a minister is paid at the end of every month, not even at the beginning. Then you the landlord is now asking me to bring next year’s salary, and we’re complaining that there’s corruption.”