Nigeria: FMBN Reiterates Pledge to Provide Affordable Housing to Nigerians

3 July 2020

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Mr. Ahmed Dangiwa has said the bank remains optimistic in its push to achieve access to affordable housing for more Nigerians are on course.

This includes the N500 billion recapitalisation; review of the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme and FMBN establishment Acts and the overall automation of all FMBN business processes.

Dangiwa, stated this in his remarks to mark the third-year anniversary of the current FMBN executive management team recently.

A statement by the Group Head, Corporate Communications, FMBN, Ahmed Abubakar, quoted him to have said this in a statement.

He noted that while FMBN has in the last three years surpassed all key corporate performance indicators such as the size and speed of mortgage loan disbursements, refunds to retired contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme, housing stock construction amongst others, the overall goal was to fundamentally turnaround the bank by increasing the size of its capital, restructuring its legal framework and putting technology at the heart of its operations.

"We are proud of what we have achieved in the past three years. Our performance shows the potential of FMBN to make a difference in affordable housing delivery if properly empowered.

"However, our goal is to leave a legacy of a structurally transformed, financially robust and highly efficient FMBN that is leading in the delivery of affordable social housing to Nigerian workers.

"We are making progress in our advocacy to the Federal Government to increase FMBN's capitalisation from the current N5 billion to N500 billion. This will give the bank the financial resilience to leverage additional financing to tackle the rising housing deficit. With the support of the Honorable Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola SAN we believe this is realisable," the FMBN boss added.

Regarding the review of the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme and FMBN establishment Acts pending at the National Assembly, the FMBN MD/CEO stated that the bank was working closely with relevant stakeholders toward resolving the issues that caused the Presidency to withhold assent.

"Since then, we have consulted with key stakeholders to fix all issues of concern that were raised and are happy to observe that we are making good progress. This groundwork that we are doing we hope will hopefully ensure that the emerging provisions in the bills will be acceptable to all parties and we will not experience the delay that occurred before," Dangiwa said.

Dangiwa also said that he was hopeful that the bank's Core Banking Project would be implemented as a foundation for a total migration of the bank's business operations from manual to digital thus improving efficiency and service delivery. He noted that the proposal is currently awaiting presentation and approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

In a related development, the Bank has stated that the transparent and progressive leadership of its board within the past three years has helped to significantly shore up industry stakeholder confidence in the operations of the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme, a contributory program that supports the provision of affordable housing to Nigerians.

Dangiwa, said this during a recent Webinar organised by the Housing Advocacy Network (HDAN) on housing development in the country and the challenges posed by Covid-19 to the housing sector.

He noted that many states that had stopped participating in the NHF Scheme have re-joined and are actively contributing to the scheme and the bank has witnessed an increased number of private sector participation in the scheme.

He also added that commercial banks and insurance companies, who are required by the NHF Act to invest 10 per cent of their loans and advances portfolio and 40 per cent and 20 per cent of life and non-life funds respectively in the scheme are showing more interest in playing their statutory roles.

"With the cooperation of our stakeholders and our strategic reform initiatives, we are happy to say that we have reset FMBN and the NHF scheme on a stronger, more progressive footing than we met it. When we came on board three years ago, the confidence level was low.

"Most states had withdrawn from the NHF scheme and were no longer contributing. In the past three years we have re-engaged them and convinced them to do a rethink. The result is that seven of those states are now back and contributing to the NHF scheme. Only two states, Kano, and Oyo, are remaining and we are engaging them.

"We have also increased the number of employers including large and small private sector businesses that are registering to the scheme by an additional 1,629 to the NHF scheme because of our strong business focus. In the same vein, we also increased the number of cooperatives participating by an additional 111," he added.

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