- CBN, NMRC to Tackle Mortgage Financing Constraints
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Monday said it was collaborating with the Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company to address some of the major challenges affecting the delivery of affordable housing in the country.
The Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability, CBN, Aisha Ahmad, said this in Abuja during a workshop on the Model Mortgage and Foreclosure Draft Bill.
The bill seeks to address some of the legal and administrative constraints to the housing sector.
It is also aimed at making lending to the housing sector less risky and create the enabling environment for the growth of the mortgage markets.
Ahmad said the need to tackle the challenges of the housing sector was born out of the conviction that housing remained one of man’s primary needs.
For instance, she stated that from available statistics, Nigeria’s housing deficit currently stood at approximately 17 million, given an estimated demand of between 38 million and 44 million units that needed to be provided.
Ahmad explained that despite this grim situation and the critical importance of housing, Nigeria’s housing stock stood at about 13 million for a population of about 180 million people.
Quoting a World Bank study, the CBN deputy governor stated that Nigeria required about N60tn to address the housing deficit.
To address the challenges of housing delivery in Nigeria, she said there was a need to tackle the issue of legal and administrative impediments, particularly at the state level.
She stated, “The contribution of the housing mortgage sector to the growth of the Nigerian economy does not give much to cheer either, as the sector constitutes less than one per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product as opposed to the situation in developed economies where the sector constitutes from 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the GDP.
“The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa highlighted legal and administrative restraints as some of the major hindrances to the growth of homeownership in Nigeria, rated even stronger than access to finance as a constraint.”
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Director for Policy, Partnerships and Business Development, NMRC, Dr Chii Akporji, called on state governments to simplify land administration procedures.
She said the constraints created by difficult legal processes, antiquated land administration infrastructure and policies, the significant costs and multi-layered processes involved in land titling and perfection of land related transactions had left the housing and mortgage industry less attractive to investors.
CBN Extends Letter of Credit Issuance Timeline Amid Forex Crisis
Move Aims to Address FX Scarcity Challenges and Enhance Customer Service
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an extension of the timeline for issuing letters of credit from 24 hours to five working days, according to the newly approved 2023 service charter.
This adjustment comes as the country grapples with foreign exchange scarcity, impacting local and international trade.
The 2020 service charter initially stipulated a 24-hour timeline for the issuance and management of letters of credit, but the updated charter now reflects a timeline extension to five working days.
Also, the CBN has prolonged the timeline for the registration of Form M and NXP from 24 hours to two working days.
The move follows the CBN’s unification of all forex market segments in June 2023, aimed at promoting liquidity and stability.
However, this measure appears to have led to increased market instability, with the naira losing nearly a fifth of its value.
Reports indicate that foreign suppliers are now rejecting letters of credit from Nigerian businesses, affecting the importation of goods and services.
Letters of credit are crucial for the payment of visible goods imports, wherein a bank commits in writing to pay the exporter a specified sum within a defined timeframe upon receipt of proper documentation from the customer.
The extended timelines for letters of credit, Forms M, and NXP in the service charter are seen as measures to manage cash flow and instill confidence in the process amidst the ongoing forex crisis.
CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso stressed the commitment to responsive and citizen-friendly governance through efficient, responsible, and transparent service delivery in the revised service charter.
The move is part of the CBN’s effort to comply with the Business Facilitation Act 2022 and enhance ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Unity Bank MD Advocates Policy Actions to Stem Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria
The Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun has called for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures that enable gender-based violence in Nigeria.
At the Ebony Life Cinema, the venue of the film screening in Lagos, Unity Bank supported the BECKMA movie premiere by ARDA Development Commuications Inc. which was held to highlight issues of Gender-Based violence and driving positive change in society.
Making the call, Somefun stated that the Bank committed to partnering with the movie premiere and putting the power of the brand behind BECKMA as the event brings sustainability and gender equality to the front burner.
Represented by Unity Bank’s Group Head of Compliance, Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Somefun noted that “9 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had suffered sexual assault at least once in their lifetime and 31% had experienced physical violence,” citing a recent study by UNDP in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Somefun said “Gender-based violence is not just a women’s issue, but a societal ill that demands our collective attention. It is high time for us to step forward and advocate for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures allowing such atrocities to persist”.
She added, “I urge policymakers to enact stringent laws against gender-based violence, ensuring swift and severe consequences for perpetrators. Our homes and various organisations must also be a catalyst for change, inspiring others to follow suit.”
While commending the ARDA Development Communications Inc. for their initiatives to promote gender equality and empowerment in line with SDG5, Somefun assured of the Bank’s commitment to sustainable initiatives and further collaborative initiatives and advocacy programmes for the elimination of gender-based violence.
Nigeria’s NIBSS Directs Banks to Disconnect Non-Deposit Financial Institutions from NIP System
Banks in Nigeria have received a directive from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to disconnect Switches, Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSPs), and Super Agents from the NIBSS Instant Payment Outwards System.
The circular, dated December 5, 2023, highlighted that including these non-deposit-taking financial institutions as beneficiaries on the NIP funds transfer channels violates the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guideline on electronic payments.
The NIBSS emphasized that while Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents might process outward transfers as inflows to banks, their licenses do not permit them to hold customers’ funds.
The circular referred to the CBN’s guidelines on electronic payment of salaries, pensions, suppliers, and taxes, dated February 2014, as the basis for this regulatory stance.
The directive also pointed to a circular dated May 11, 2018, titled “Permissible Services and Products of PSSP Operation in Nigeria,” reinforcing the need for compliance.
As a result, banks were urged to delist all Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents from the NIP Outward Transfer channels while allowing their participation in inward transfers.
In Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, operators are required to obtain licenses such as Switching and Processing, Mobile Money Operations, Payment Solution Services, or Regulatory Sandbox from the CBN.
Only Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) have the authority to hold customer funds, according to the CBN’s regulatory framework.
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