Members of Parliament have undertaken a study on the Home mortgage finance Act 2008 at committee room No 1.
The bill was last relegated to the committee of the whole House after a request by Hon Komba Koedoyoma of SLPP that it was complex for which MPs needed a pre-legislative meeting prior to the bill being read in Parliament for the first time and also suggested that a seminar should have been organized for MPs to be briefed well on the bill.
The intention of the bill according to the Finance Minister, David Carew when he took the bill to Parliament , was to be an Act to mortgage Home finance and to provide for other related matters. He explained that the issues giving rise to the bill were lack of Home management and lack of enough stock of houses in the country which was as a result of the war and the rise of population stating further that because of that, landlords ask for a year or two rent advances.
The Minister further explained that only the commercial Banks offer Housing loans but that too he said was short loan because they do not give long term as their lending rates were high coupled with their demand for collateral. “This has to change” the minister said.
Continuing, he stated that over the years Government attempted to solve that situation with the creation of the Sierra Leone Housing Corporation (SALHOC) with that of a private sector, the Alliance Finance House and to continue with Government’s efforts, the minister disclosed that a sustainable and affordable Housing was needed to be established for which the Home Finance Company (HFC) was created through NASSIT that will be viable with legal status. “There are no specific laws on mortgage and no laws to protect mortgage lenders” said the minister.
He further explained that to succeed in the industry, there was the need to enact a law that will be geared towards providing legal instruments to guide in Home Finance Management.
The Bill has 22 sections that deals with interpretation, its determinants of the scope of application, application only to Home Management transaction, the conveyance and law of property, the security for any loan granted, risk requirement and right of sale without going to the law courts.
In another development three Members of Parliament (MPs) Honorable Tunde Lewally, David Bai Conteh of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and Sahr Fasuluku of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) have described the Home Mortgage Finance Act 2008 as “unfair to the poor people”.
According to Lewally, “this is the best bill that has been presented in Parliament as it is President Koroma’s dream for every Sierra Leonean to live a better life. But as an MP I represent people, party and my conscience, therefore I cannot support any Bill that will not benefit the poor.”
He added that so far what is in the Bill will only benefit the rich people as they only would be able to meet the requirements and conditions attached to the Bill.
Currently, he said that the financial crisis that is going on in the world is caused by mortgage institutions and banks.
The legislator stressed that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should come up with a Bill that will talk of National Identity (ID) numbers for every Sierra Leonean, if at all they want the Home Mortgage Finance Act 2008 to survive.
Recently, he recalled that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, David Carew explained in Parliament that the economy is affected and that there are mortgages that were made locally and are yet to do well.
“If the Minister is talking about poor performance on home Mortgages what sense does that mean” , asked Lewally.
Also, on Insurance, the MP stated that, there is no better insurance system in Sierra Leone, adding that Insurance companies do not give full coverage if there is an accident, damage or theft.
The Legislator pointed out that, if proper systems are put in place in the Bill, then he will be the first person to support it, but if it is not he will be the first to back out and convince other MPs not to support the passing of the Bill in Parliament.
“I want Bills that will touch the lives of poor people, he said.
On his part, Hon Sahr Fasuluku reiterated that, the Bill is good but questionable as it has some rough edges that need to be cleared before it should be passed in the Parliament.
He also stressed that they want Bills that will touch the lives of poor people and not only the rich.
Hon. David Conteh also praised the Bill but noted that there are certain modalities that government should put in place for the Bill to survive.
Citing an example, he said that if a farmer from the Village wants to Mortgage a home and ask for a loan, the Mortgage Institutions will not allow him because of certain requirements and conditions that have to be met. So in a sense he said only the rich will benefit from this.
The three MPs told this press after the Director of Home Finance Company (HFC) Kofi Agyenim Boateng presented the Bill at a Pre-legislative meeting with MPs.
By Ishmael Bayoh & Abibatu Kamara