By YINKA KOLAWOLE
Primary Mortgage Institutions (PMIs), under the aegis of Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria (MBAN), are seeking involvement in the collection and management of contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme.
The group made the request while on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Nduese Essien, in Abuja recently. President of the association, Mr. Abimbola Olayinka, noted that with 66 licensed members across the country, their involvement would enhance efficiency of the scheme.
He remarked that their meeting with the minister was to explore ways of collaboration between MBAN and the federal government to facilitate provision of affordable housing for Nigerians. “In order to achieve this, there is need to streamline the NHF scheme to make it more effective .
We believe that Primary Mortgage Institutions can deepen the NHF scheme if they are allowed to participate in the collection of the NHF contribution, which will be remitted to the FMBN for disbursement. Also, there is need to ensure that more Nigerians have access to the NHF fund.
“In the developed countries, mortgage banks are richer than commercial banks. So, we need to work together to build the sector so that it can meet the challenge of providing cheap mortgage, especially for low income earners across the country.”
Olayinka also cautioned on the involvement of those not directly related to housing finance in the management of the fund. “Under the National Housing Fund scheme, windows are being opened for various institutions to partake in it; in particular, things like the pension fund I think it should not be.
We in the sector have the expertise and it should be solely for those in the mortgage sector to manage the NHF, so that we will be able to have access to funds and create the depth instead of opening it up to everybody. By the time it is open to everybody, we will not have a proper standardization in place again. So we are appealing to you that only the management of NHF, as it is being done by the FMBN right now are those to have access to the funds and it should be restricted to the mortgage institutions alone.
“Also we have cases of the collection of NHF itself, which is being done right now by my colleagues at the FMBN; they are doing a good job, but we strongly believe that we in the mortgage sector who are on the street and who have a better network can collect these proceeds and create the depth, which we will also pass on to the FMBN, the sole custodian. We want to help in the collection of these proceeds.
When these mortgages are created we offload it to FMBN. We strongly believe PMIs should be empowered to collect the NHF monthly proceeds and we also have access to a lot of the contributors for this scheme, all that is needed to be done is to create a depth, which we believe is one of the key factors why a lot of people have really not been able to access the NHF scheme,” he stated.
The mortgage bankers also called for recapitalisation of FMBN, noting that this would help to create liquidity within the system for further mortgages, stressing that “we need FMBN to be well capitalized.”