The Government of Lagos State, Nigeria’s most populous city, the second fastest-growing city in Africa and seventh in the world with an estimated population of 21 million recently signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc (NMRC), Nigeria’s foremost Mortgage underwriter on the delivery of 20,000 housing units, under the State’s Lagos Affordable Public Housing (L.A.P.H.) initiative, to help bridge the housing gap in the State.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) executed on October 23, 2017 marks the beginning of a partnership, which will avail citizens of the State the affordability and accessibility that NMRC provides through the refinancing of long-term mortgages.
According to the Commissioner for Housing of the State, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, the partnership with NMRC is in line with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s long standing and sustained efforts to provide affordable housing to citizens, and by so doing unlock its multiplier effects on the State’s strong economy, including jobs and wealth creation. Examples of these efforts include the effective re-positioning of housing provision institutions in the State and the successful implementation of the Rent-To-Own scheme which has driven growth of the sector and enabled many Lagosians realize their dreams of affordable home ownership.
The partnership with NMRC also includes Ibile Holdings Limited, the State’s investment company as well as some developers engaged by the State through direct and Joint Venture Initiative to deliver 20,000 housing units to the state government by 2018. The developers partnering with the State government and NMRC are Brains and Hammers Limited, EchoStone Development Nigeria Limited, Industrialized Mass Housing Development Company Limited, Multi-Purpose Infrastructural Development Construction Limited (MIDC) and Tact-Urban Infrastructure Developers Limited.
Among the key terms of the MoU include:The State will facilitate through Ibile Holdings Limited, the delivery of good title and possession of Project Sites identified and allocated to the developers, NMRC will support the Primary Mortgage Banks that appraise and prequalify off-takers of the housing units in conformity with the Uniform Underwriting Standards, by providing refinancing commitments for such mortgages.
Similarly, each Developer will leverage on the full amplitude of its global expertise, experience and skill in ensuring successful construction and completion of good quality, affordable Housing Units.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive of NMRC, Professor Charles Inyangete said the MoU with Lagos State marks a major milestone in the organization’s persistent efforts to work with frontline state governments across the federation to create the enabling environment for mortgage creation and promotion of home ownership.
He added that Lagos State has a long and globally acclaimed history of commitment to innovation in Housing provision, including being the first state to pass a mortgage foreclosure law.
NMRC’s Executive Director for Policy, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, Dr. Chii Akporji thanked the Commissioner and his team for their support in seeing the MoU through to fruition and looked forward to working with the team to deliver on its objectives.
According to Mr. Adebola Sheidu, Chairman Brains and Hammers Limited, who spoke on behalf of the Developers, today marks a major milestone for the housing sector in Lagos State in particular and the whole nation in general. It is the culmination of a substantial amount of work by all parties involved and for that we would like to show our appreciation to the Ministry of Housing and the NMRC.
The MOU takes cognizance of the fact that the issue of solving the problem of the nation’s housing deficit is not one that can be effectively tackled by one body alone but will require the active participation of the public and private sectors in the guise of the Government, private developers and the mortgage industry all working in tandem.
The document signed here today will reduce the barrier-to-entry for a substantial number of Lagos State residents in terms of home ownership by providing the financial ability to own their own homes. As such, we call on all those who are eligible to key into the scheme with a view to actualizing the aspiration of homeownership.
Once again, we would like to thank all parties for their hard work, particularly the Ministry of Housing for its proactive and progressive approach in driving the Lagos Affordable Public Housing Scheme (LAPH).
From all that has been said, it is obvious that Lagos State has struck the right cord by this partnership, because NMRC is well positioned to provide the much-needed liquidity for the mortgage sub-sector.

• Marc Philips