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As part of contributions to reduce the many challenges facing the realestate financing in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] has said the poor ranking by the world Bank in 2016 has continued to discourage both local and foreign investment Inflows into the mortgage financing sector of the nation’s economy..
In 2016, the World bank Group Report on the ease of doing business ranks Nigeria 139th out of 190 countries examined in the area of ‘’Enforcement of contracts.”
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, stated this on Wednesday, in his message at a workshop for Judicial Officers organized by the National judicial Institute (NJI) held in Abuja.
Emefiele said that the ranking was partly due to the length of time and significant expenses involved in the litigation process adding that poor ranking made because lenders over time, become wary of the delays and uncertainties which often characterize simple mortgage disputes such as a claim for repayment of mortgage loans, exercise of the power of sale, appointment of a receiver, foreclosure, to mention a few.
He also disclosed that the 2016 report by the entre for affordable housing Finance in Africa did not help matters,. ‘’I would like to refer us to the 2016 Report of the Center for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa, for Nigeria, this Report indicated an estimated 25 percent homeownership rate.
Interestingly, the report highlighted legal and administrative constraints, rather than lack of funds or programmes, as some of the major issues constricting the growth of home ownership in Nigeria. .
The CBN Chief listed key constraints to the growth of the housing and construction as well as mortgage sectors in Nigeria to includes, the Land tenure system as enshrined in the Land Use act of 1978, issues of Affordability and the difficulties in delivering affordable to low and middle-income households, limited access to housing and mortgage financing, difficulties in enforcing mortgage contracts and foreclosure in properties in Nigeria courts and the show bureaucratic procedures in land administration.
Other constraints are that of high rate of population, high rate of rural to urban migration as well as high cost of construction among others.
Emefiele who described the theme of the workshop, ‘’Mortgage Dispute in Nigeria ,-The need for Expeditions Resolution of Cases as not only germane but timely also commended 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 stressed that more needs to be done with a view to expediting the settlement of commercial disputes.
He equally use the occasion to emphasize that within the context of the Nigeria Housing Finance Program (NHFP), a key deterrent to the growth of mortgage financing in Nigeria remains the slow and protracted adjudication process for the enforcement and recovery of mortgage loans provided to potential homeowners by financial institutions..
“In this respect, it is worthy of note that whether a mortgagee seeks to exercise its power of sale, foreclosure, right to appoint a receiver or institute an action for recovery of the mortgage loan, the lengthy judicial process inhibits the ability of financial institutions to enforce mortgages and recover mortgage loans, accordingly, there is need to take urgent action aimed at expediting the judicial process for adjudicating on mortgages as well as other commercial disputes, so as to drastically speed up the very slow growth in the housing finance sector’’
He noted ,’’against the backdrop of the foregoing, what can we do to effectuate and accelerate the adjudication of commercial and mortgage disputes in Nigeria? I believe that this is one of the challenges before participants at this Workshop. A number of analysts have opined that the solution may lie in the amendment of the Land Use Act 1978; reform in land titling and administration; simplification of rules of court and promotion of alternative dispute settlement; and the designation of special or reserve courts within the judiciary in all tiers of government. It is evident that some of these solutions will help alleviate the problem in the short-term while other may provide medium or long-term remedies.”