By Yinka Kolawole
The Senate has faulted the N5 billion capital base of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), describing it as ridiculously low and an indication that government is only paying lip service to provision of affordable housing to the people.
TheÂ Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, stated this during an oversight tour of the bank in Abuja, noting that the N5 billion capital base of the bank, which is yet to be fully paid up, is a sign of un-seriousness.
â€œIf we are serious at mortgage banking and to be among the top 20 world economies in the year 2020, then the bank must be recapitalised to underscore the seriousness of government at providing affordable housing to the people. But the N5billion capital base of the bank is a far cry and a sign of un-seriousness,â€ she said.
The placing of FMBN under the supervision the Ministry of Works and Housing, rather than under the Ministry of Finance, also received flacks from the senate.
Nwaogu said it was a misnomer for the nationâ€™s apex mortgage institution which is a financial institution, to be placed under the supervision of the Works and Housing Ministry promising that the anomaly would be corrected along with the nine bills relating to housing that the senate is working
â€œWe are going to urge the President to see reasons and return the bank to where it rightly belonged. May be the pending bills would address the problem. We are here on a fact finding mission, to see how we can assist to re-invigorate the FMBN to achieve the laudable objectives for which it was set up,â€ she stated.
Managing Director, FMBN, Mr. Abdulasalam Ahmed, had earlier complained that the N5billion capital base is not sufficient for the bank to meet its obligation, adding that as a government-owned bank it is precluded from going to the capital market to source for funds, adding that the bank requires a minimum capitalisation of N50 billion.