News Column

Okonjo-Iweala Assures On Affordable Mortgage Interest Rate

July 31, 2014



The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday assured Nigerians of affordable interest rate under the new mortgage refinancing scheme of the Federal Government.

Okonjo-Iweala gave the assurance while fielding questions from newsmen at the launch of 10,000 mortgages for Affordable Homes Scheme in Abuja.

"This project is a market-driven process; we know and hope that the interest rate will be lower than the normal one which is about 20 per cent that people get on mortgage now.

"We are passing on the money to the mortgage refinancing institutions that will purchase mortgages from the primary lenders at the same rate that government got it.

"Zero per cent interest, 0.7 per cent commitment charge, 0.5 per cent commitment fees and so on, but they will need to add some charges for processing.

"So, nobody is going to get the mortgage at zero per cent; it will be a market-based rate but am sure it will be better than 20 per cent we are experiencing now. You can look out for anything from 15 per cent and below," she said.

The minister added that the new scheme will also ensure longer tenure for repayment and a lower interest rate.

She said that the new scheme would also accommodate those who might lose their jobs after accessing the mortgage facility.

According to her, the primary mortgage lenders are being encouraged to restructure and ensure that those who fall under such category are given more time to continue repayment.

"They are not going to forgive you on the mortgage. This is not a free; anyone who is looking for something free, this is not it.

"You have to be paying your mortgage, but if you fall on hard times or ill health and you can't pay again, we can have the lenders to restructure it.

"They can give you a different pattern of payment or more time to be able to resume.

"That is the best we can do," she said.

On the availability of internet in rural communities to enable rural dwellers to access the mortgage portal, she said banks and universities would be used to facilitate that.

She said that the portal would officially be opened to the public from Aug. 4


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Source: AllAfrica


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