NASSIT is key to housing problem: Pt.1
The National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) as has been demonstrated overtime, has shown considerable interest in private sector investment, facilitating business development in Sierra Leone, through new ventures, expansions, restructuring and privatization.
The Trustâ€™s investment however has invariably shown interest in areas such as Fund Growth, Investment Cost and Risk Minimisation; and Contribution to socio-economic development (social utility)
In line with its medium-term investment strategy though, the sectors in which The Trust has been able to focus investments of its funds are: Housing and Real Estate (Office Tower Blocks and Other Commercial Property), Financial/ Corporate Investments with the latter very much high on the specific agenda. This first in the series on NASSITâ€™s intervention in the Housing and Real Estate sector in the country will dwell on how one of its numerous investments; the HFC mortgage company seeks to ease the problem of housing in the country.
The desire to save the chronic housing problem in Sierra Leone has been the objective of governments since independence. Post-colonial history proves that various strategies have been employed like direct government intervention, encouraging and facilitating individuals to build their own houses with savings, development of co-operative and Building societies, short term loans from commercial bank and the formation of housing corporations.
However, some of these initiatives were reasonably successful, but considering the deficit in housing needs the impact thereof, has not been substantial. Many finance and mortgage experts believe housing must be tackled as a developmental problem with a multifaceted approach combing direct government interventions, private public partnership, facilitating and providing inducement for capital flow to the industry and compelling quasi-public and social institutions to channel substantial part their idle and investment fund into the industry.
HFC Mortgage and Savings (SL) Limited is a related entity of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) in Sierra Leone, incorporated in July 2007 under the other Financial Services Act 2001 to provide mortgage finance to qualifying individuals for housing needs and development. Since the formation of the company in January 2008 much skepticism arose even among the gurus in the financial and social circles. Nevertheless, this NASSIT venture has sailed through by achieving the set objectives for 2008 which include the setting up of infrastructure necessary to operate a deposit taking Mortgage Company obtain the bank of Sierra Leone license for mortgage financial, recruit the requisite staff that have been invariably trained to undertake the task of implementing the countryâ€™s only formidable martial plan for housing the country has been able to have with many thanks to NASSIT.
The president of the Republic in his inaugural of the company said is desirous to see the numerous uncompleted structures littered all around the city come to speedy finish. Houses that have been deteriorated for lack of repairs and painting become things of the past and construction and finance of affordable houses using chapter technology and making mortgages available to all people and not the privileged few becomes the order of the day in Sierra Leone. This statement was repeated in his Excellencyâ€™s address to parliament one year ago; showing how much belief and trust the president has come to have on the NASSIT venture. The good news is that HFC succeeded in encouraging people with uncompleted structures to apply for there completion mortgage to complete their uncompleted structure.
With a pilot phase of affordable housing schemes at Hamilton initiated by NASSIT/HFC encourages purchasers to buy houses off plan, HFC mortgages have been able to make the scheme to be available to all manners of income earning groups ranging from clerical workers, Police officers, small business owners, lawyers, accountants, lecturers, resident Sierra Leoneans and Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora. In line with best practices in corporate government, HFC have transcribed its mission and vision into a 5 year strategic plans to take off from January 2010; which show institutional strength and maturity investors look for in the thriving corporate world.
The plan it is expected will within the five years guide the company to the ultimate: a fully fledged mortgage bank with subsidiaries providing services to complement mortgages all over Sierra Leone. HFC started the plan with a micro mortgage unit early 2010 as a prelude to the establishment of a micro mortgage subsidiary to take care of the small business owners, petty traders, taxi and poda-poda drivers and the other informal sectors of the economy.
With such formidable and ideal investment credibility, the National Social Security and Insurance Trust-NASSIT or â€˜The Trustâ€™ could unavoidably be our only available key presently to the problems of housing as we may see in the succeeding articles of this series.
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