By Yinka Kolawole
The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Nduese Essien, has declared that about N100 billion contributed into the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme by workers is currently trapped in various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government across the country.
Essien who made the disclosure during the inauguration of the new Board of Directors of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), recently, in Abuja, charged members of the new board to ensure that the trapped fund is recovered from the MDAs for the benefit of the workers.
“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 N100 billion 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,” he stated.
The minister further stated: “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.”
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.
In his response, Chairman of the new FMBN board, who was retained from the dissolved board, 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.