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Housing finance system in Nigeria is characterize by lack of secondary mortgage market and absence of private sector building societies or mortgage institutions, which prevent the federal mortgage bank of Nigeria(FMBN) from going into full- scale mortgage banking and performing its role as the apex mortgage institutions, supervising, controlling and development of other mortgage institutions. This study aimed at examining the role of public housing finance in Akwa Ibom state. A case study of Akwa saving and loans limited. The study adopted field survey design; data was gathered from both primary and secondary sources. A total of 40 staffs working in Akwa savings and loans limited were sample to illicit information on housing finance in Akwa Ibom state. A descriptive statistics and relative important index method were used to analyze the collected data. Findings reveal that Land use Act is a major challenges facing housing finance in Akwa savings and loans limited. Also, that many Nigerians lack requisite information on the process of securing housing finance by mortgage institutions. The study recommends that Land use Act should be review to give access to individuals, cooperate organization who are in need of land for housing development. Also, mortgage institutions should embark on enlightenment campaigns to enlighten the public on the role of mortgage institutions in housing finance.
1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Housing is recognized world-wide as one of the basic necessities of life and a pre-requisite to survival of man (Onibokun, 1983; United Nations, 1992; Salau, 1990). The desire for adequate and affordable housing also has strong links to the need for security, safety and proper socio-economic status of individuals and communities. Despite of this widely acknowledged importance of housing and various efforts in making adequate and affordable housing available to majority of people, a large proportion of urban residents in less developed countries do not have access to decent housing at affordable cost (Tipple,2004; 2006; UN-HABITAT, 2006a; Greene and Rojas, 2008).
As a package of shelter and services, housing becomes a veritable tool for macroeconomic development, being complementary to other sectors. It also has social benefits for an inadequate dwelling contributes to low family incomes while well-planned housing can increase national productivity, economize an urban space, and minimize the cost of urban infrastructure (World Bank, 1975). In addition, when homelessness increases, the condition of the housing stock deteriorates, ill-health and misery among the people deprived of decent housing gets worse.
Housing finance refers to money provided by any source other than the residents or builders of the dwelling for the construction or purchase of housing. It includes construction funds loaned to builders and mortgage funds loaned to individual families by private or public banks and by a wide variety of other types of financial institutions. It also includes various types of housing subsidies provided by government agencies (United Nations, 1974).
Thus, a housing finance system is the financial institutions themselves, their legal status and administrative procedures and the relationships and markets which link them. That is, it is a superstructure of laws, institutions, and relationships between institutional and non-institutional units which facilitate the processes of financial intermediation and capital formation in the housing sector. A well-developed housing finance system could be seen as one which significantly facilitates the purchase, rental, construction and improvement of homes for the population as a whole, (John C. Anyanwu Housing finance in Nigeria: the role of domestic financial institution, January 1991).
In particular, it should be able to accomplish this objective effectively and economically for those least able to afford housing, namely, for households in the lowest income groups and for those otherwise economically disadvantaged in the context of the high cost of housing. An effective housing finance system should be able to mobilize savings and protect their real value. In addition, the housing finance needs of those with income and/or assets above the eligibility level for government or other housing subsidies, but still too low to be able to afford decent housing at market prices must also be given due priority. Its effectiveness is also judged by the extent to which the quantity and quality of housing in the active stock improves about a decade ahead.
Finally, an effective housing finance system is judged in terms of its net macroeconomic impact, namely, the effect of resources mobilization for housing on aggregate savings and availability of funds for other sectors; the impact on the national budget; and the amount of employ merit and value added generated by the housing industry (World Bank, 1983).
In Nigeria, like many other developing countries, many housing programmed have been developed to avert the problem confronting housing in the country. However these programmes have not been able to realize the objective of providing housing for all. It was, however, a mirage since the vast majority of Nigerians are yet to have access to decent and affordable housing years after 2000 targeted date set. The problem being lack of political will as well as inaccessibility to financial and other resources required for housing provision. The rate of population growth in the country is rather high and this is accompanied by rapid urbanization which stultify efforts made by the successive governments in housing provision. The failure of public housing policies and programme in the past in Nigeria has been traced to inadequate knowledge of the nature, scope and dimension of the country’s housing problems both in the urban and rural areas of the country as well as to the myopic and narrow concept of Nigeria’s housing needs (FGN, 1990).
In Akwa Ibom State, the financing of housing currently constitutes a major problem for all households which are not in the super higher income brackets. To a certain extent, the importance that paying for sound housing plays in a family's budget is simply a consequence of the fact that a dwelling is the largest single consumer commodity a household can expect to buy. The full price of a house typically is often above five to ten times a family's annual income. Most families would not be able to buy or build a house unless they saved for it almost throughout their working lives. Indeed, the share of housing in the family budget has been magnified by the fact that the prices of land, construction labour and building materials are rising much faster than incomes. Therefore, consider the above overview; this work seeks to examine the role of public housing finance in Akwa Ibom state with emphasis on the Akwa Saving and loan limited. The work will among other thing indentify the various programmes initiated by Akwa savings and loans limited, and the procedure of financing and acquiring public housing in Akwa Ibom state, the role of Akwa saving and loans in housing development and also the Challenges facing housing finance institutions in Akwa Ibom state.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The Federal Government of Nigeria had indeed accepted that the area of housing finance constitutes the best point at which the most useful intervention can be made (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1981). Despite this high priority intervention statement, enormous gap still exists between housing requirements and the financial resources required for its provision. Indeed, Nigeria's financial sector has grown rapidly and evolved in sophistication during the last decade, but the system continues to be unable to provide adequate long-term finance to cater for the housing needs of the people.
The Nigerian housing finance system is characterized by lack of secondary mortgage market. The absence of private sector building societies or mortgage institutions, for instance, has prevented the federal mortgage bank of Nigeria (FMBN) from going into full-scale mortgage banking and performing its role as the apex mortgage institution, supervising, controlling and development of other mortgage institutions. There is lack of safeguards or guarantees in the form of real mortgage insurance with its tax and regulatory sweeteners, reducing the down payment required for individual home purchases and hence making loans reach lower-income group.
It is for this reason that this research sought to examine the role of public housing finance in Akwa Ibom State. The study assessed the procedure of financing and acquisition of public housing in Akwa Ibom Saving and loans limited in Akwa Ibom State.
1.2 AIM OF STUDY
The overall aim of this study is to examine the Role of Public Housing Finance in Akwa Ibom State emphases on Akwa saving and loans limited.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The specific objectives of this research are:
(i) To identify the housing programmes initiated by Akwa Saving and Loans Limited in Akwa Ibom State.
(ii) To assess the procedures of financing and acquisition of public housing in Akwa-saving and loans limited.
(iii) To examine the Role of Akwa Saving and Loans Limited in housing development in Akwa Ibom State.
(iv) To assess the challenges facing housing finance institution in Akwa Saving and loan limited.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
1. Which housing programme(s) have been initiated by Akwa Savings and Loans Limited?
2. What are the procedures of financing and acquiring public housing in Akwa Ibom State?
3. What are the roles of Akwa saving and loans limited in housing development?
4. What are the challenges facing housing finance?
An evaluation research on the Role of public housing finance in AkwaIbom State is no doubt an important one. This is going by the notion that the outcomes of housing programme engaged by government in solving the problem of providing adequate, affordable and sustainable housing in this State in recent time are not known. Therefore, this study is important for several reasons.
This study is thus justified on the basis that it attempts to provide basic information that will enhance our knowledge of the organizational capacity of public housing finance institution in AkwaIbom State. This is also considered necessary in assessing the outcomes of public housing provisions and making useful recommendations.
In all this study is justified due to the need for formal evaluation of the different housing programmed used in financing public housing in AkwaIbom State.
The Nigerian housing finance system appears modernized but the drawback to housing delivery is hampered by the cost of urban land as well as the absence of large real estate developers with financial muscle to develop affordable houses on scale. Finance, which is essential to any housing programme, is in short supply in Nigeria. Housing is just one of many national priorities that compete for Government funding, and because it represents large investments and long-term commitments, it is less attractive than most. Since, in any housing development programme the role of government is of utmost importance, the Government has to create and ensure a bouyant and vibrant financial system and economy that can provide sufficient funds for housing. The Government's role in housing finance is crucial, particularly in low-cost social housing hence Government should increase its subsidy (despite SAP and call for lesser subvention for corporations) to the financial institutions responsible for housing finance as they relate to the low-income group as this group cannot be housed without some form of subsidy while evolving effective means (as discussed above) of harnessing private financial resources.
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