14 December 2017

Nigeria: Gemade Accuses Govt of Withholding N100 Billion Appropriated for Housing

Abuja — The Chairman Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Senator Barnabas Gemade, has revealed that the sum of N100 billion appropriated in the 2017 Budget as intervention fund, to support mortgage activities in the country has not been released to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).

This is even as the year will elapse in few weeks' time, and the National Assembly has commenced deliberations on the 2018 Budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Gemade, who made the disclosure while the committee was on oversight function at the FMBN, urged the Bank to liaise with the supervisory Ministry of Power, Works, and Housing, and the Ministry of Finance, to ensure that the fund so appropriated is released to it for the purpose.

Furthermore, he urged stakeholders including the Federal Government, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), to pay up their equity contribution and actualise the recapitalisation of the FMBN.

He specifically noted that the CBN has a vital role to play in making the Mortgage Bank function effectively by fully exercising its statutory roles to the Bank, by funding and regulating the Apex Mortgage Bank in the country.

According to him, there is no way FMBN could address the plethora of daunting challenges in the mortgage industry without being supported by the CBN and the Federal Government.

Gemade observed that the current N5billion capital base for the FMBN is abysmally low, and urged shareholders to hasten up by increasing the capital base of the Bank to reflect current realities.

Further, the lawmaker urged the CBN to apply its sledge hammer on any erring commercial Bank that continued to default in remitting 10 per cent of its loan portfolio to FMBN as investment to the development of a virile mortgage industry, as required by the law.

The FMBN Managing Director, Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, pointed out that since the establishment of the Bank, it has not received any budgetary appropriation from the Federal Government, and therefore relies solely on income generated from contributors under the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme to finance its activities.

He said the current N5billion capital base of the bank is grossly inadequate in view of the magnitude of its mandate to bridge the housing finance gap in Nigeria which is in the region of trillions of naira.

He said: "Even at that, it is yet to be fully paid-up as the prescribed shareholders; the CBN has paid up only N60million out of its equity contributions of N1.5billion (representing 30 per cent) of the approved capital base, while only the Federal Government portion of N2.5billion is fully paid as at date.

"It was in view of the significant progress recorded by the Bank in recent times that the National Council on Housing at its 2016 & 2017 Council meetings endorsed the recapitalisation of the Bank to the tune of N500billion, but up till this moment to no avail."


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