President Goodluck Jonathan has launched the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc (NRMC), which is expected to boost mortgage financing in the country for housing delivery home ownership schemes.

Speaking at the event yesterday in Abuja, the president said his administration had embarked on creating a stable macroeconomic environment that had lowered inflation from 12 per cent to 8 per cent last year, as well as reducing all impediments to a sustainable dynamic housing market.

“The Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company is being established to support our goal of making housing affordable to the people. The housing sector is a key component of this administration’s transformation agenda. That is why we conveyed the presidential retreat in May last year.

“In November, I asked the Coordinating Minister (for the Economy) to host a roundtable on housing finance. The objective was to take a critical look at the sector recommend ways they could be harnessed to provide shelter for Nigerians create jobs for our teaming youths.

“The housing sector is known worldwide as an avenue for job creation economic stability, which is why we are focused on the sector the concrete action we have taken in alleviating the major constraints to its rapid development.

“The first step we are taking is to create a macroeconomic environment that will lower inflation from 12 per cent to 8 percent” the president stressed.

According to him, government is carrying out these measures because of its understanding that high inflation constitutes a major impediment to the creation of sustainable dynamic market.

“The next major step we have taken is to create the enabling environment for a primary mortgage bank other financial institution to offer real mortgage facilities to Nigerians at affordable rates.

Jonathan also stressed the need for the Registry to be computerized, saying doing so would help to improve administration in the country.

He noted that the computerization would ease the cost of construction housing sales by private developers.

At the event, two major agreements between the Ministry of Ls Housing Urban Development Shelter Afrique, a subsidiary agreement between the Ministry of Finance Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) the World Bank, were signed.

The president, however, said it had become imperative for registration costs to be reduced.

“That is the mate we have given the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company Plc. We know that without government taking these initiatives as a nation, we cannot get to where we want to go, Jonathan added.

He equally noted that there was the need for the streamlining of quick completion of the foreclosure processes.

He charged all governors to ensure they delegate consent in their respective  states, to speed up the process of acquisition.

With its establishment, NRMC will provide similar services to the US-based Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMC), better known as “Fannie Mae? which was up during the Great Depression to expand the secondary mortgage market by securitizing mortgages in the form of mortgage-backed securities (MBS).

This allows lenders to reinvest their ass into more lending in effect increasing the number of lenders in the mortgage market.

Fannie Mae was established as a government-sponsored enterprise, but has been publicly traded since 1968. A source privy to the promoters of the special purpose vehicle said that although the NMRC launch took place yesterday, actual commencement of operations is expected in the second quarter of the year.

The NMRC has been up under a public-private partnership arrangement, of which with majority of the shares will be held by private investors.

Already, a $300 million (N50 billion) soft loan from the World Bank from its International Development Association (IDA) concessionary lending window has been secured by the government.

Before its launch, the prime mover of NRMC, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had allayed fears that the new mortgage firm would not replicate the negative experiences of customers had with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) whose contributions to mortgage financing in the country were hardly felt by Nigerians seeking to build own their own homes.

At a meeting with some governors recently, she had assured them that strong measures were being put in place to ensure that the poor performance of FMBN is not replicated with NMRC.

The measures include strong governance procedures the involvement of the private sector. She said that the federal government would retain some minority stake in NMRC to ensure that the mortgages are reasonably affordable.