Filed in Real Estate by on December 20, 2010

N100bn National Housing Fund trapped in MDAs, OPS
By Emeka Ezekiel, Abuja
Monday, 20 Dec 2010

Treasureland Estate, Port Harcourt

About N100bn contributed to the National Housing Fund by workers across the country is currently trapped in various ministries, departments and agencies of the government as well as private sector establishments across the country.

The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Nduese Essien, confirmed the development during the inauguration of the Board of Directors of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday.

The National Housing Fund scheme was established by Decree 2 of 1992 for workers to contribute 2.5 per cent of their basic salaries to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria. This is expected to be used to grant mortgage loans to workers at very concessionary terms for the purchase, building, expansion or renovation of their houses.

Contributors are expected to access the fund through a Primary Mortgage Institution accredited by the Central Bank of Nigeria and FMBN.

The maximum loan accessible by any contributor under the NHF scheme is N5m while lending rate is six per cent per annum. However, repayment period is a maximum of 30 years, subject to the applicant‘s present age. The maximum repayment period is determined by deducting the applicant‘s current age from 60.

According to Essien, one of the major mandates of the new FMBN Board of Directors is to ensure that the fund is recovered from the MDAs.

Members of the nine-man FMBN board are Alhaji Deta Atta (Chairman); Mr.Gimba Kuma (Managing Director); Mr.Newman Ordia (Executive Director);Mr.Yakubu Bello (Executive Director); and Mr.Bola Ogunsola (Executive Director).

Others are Mr.Mike Nwogbo (Executive Director); Mr. John Udofa(Director representing general interest); Mrs. Umma Dutse (representing Central Bank of Nigeria; and a representative of the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.

Essien said, ”The former board of the bank was dissolved about three months ago when it was found that its constitution did not comply with the enabling Act of Parliament.

”As part of its commitment to the development of the mortgage sub-sector of our national economy, the Federal Government has selected some of the best hands in the industry to serve on the new board. While academic background, professional experience excellence were some of the yardsticks for selection, government also ensured geographical spread and the Federal Character Principle.”

He added, ” However, the board must work hard to raise the level of the bank‘s operations to be on a par with similar institutions in other emerging economies. Besides, there is an urgent need to embark on a rigorous drive for the retrieval of the estimated N100bn contribution to the National Housing Fund, being held up by various ministries, departments and agencies of the government and other organisations all over the country.

”This is an essential ingredient, which could boost the financial base of the bank for effective service delivery. The board and management must explore other sources of funding and opportunities for partnership that can ginger the growth of the mortgage sub-sector and deliver cheap funds for massive home ownership.”

However, the Chairman, Board of Directors, FMBN, Alhaji Deta Atta, noted that there was a need to restructure the operations of the bank to enable it to perform its statutory function of providing cheap mortgage for Nigerians.

He stressed that the current system of relying on contributions from the National Housing Fund for the provision of mass housing was counter-productive, adding that the FMBN was working out modalities to reverse the trend.

According to him, currently, Nigeria‘s housing deficit is estimated at 16 million housing units.

He said, “This means that the task of providing decent and affordable housing to meet this country‘s housing requirement is an enormous challenge.

”Nigeria has set a target of becoming one of the 20 most developed economies by the year 2020. However, we cannot be talking about realising this vision if we neglect the housing sector. Currently, Nigeria needs N15tn to be able to bridge the housing gap of about 16 million housing units.”


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