- From N700m to N2.2bn monthly
Stories by YINKA KOLAWOLE
The introduction of electronic collection platform by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has significantly boosted collections from contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) by more than 200 percent monthly, from N700 million to N2.2 billion.
Managing Director, FMBN, Mr. Gimba Ya’u Kumo, stated this when the NHF e-card was formally unveiled by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja.
He said the introduction of the e-collection platform has not only improved the Fund’s collections but has also assisted to ensure transparency and accountability. “The NHF e-Card is a huge step forward in delivering the advantages of speed, accuracy, transparency, accountability and superior customer experiences to NHF contributors.
“We have begun to harvest the benefits of the NHF e-Collection Platform, especially in the volume of NHF collections. For instance, the rate of NHF collections rose significantly from about N700 million to over N2.2 billion per month. We estimate a further 100 per cent increase in monthly collections to achieve about N4 billion per month before the end of 2014.
“The bank (FMBN) in June 2013 launched the NHF e-Collection Platform to ensure proper record-keeping, transparency and accountability for NHF collections. The platform prevents the flagrant violation of the NHF Act and unlawful practices by employers who fail to effect statutory deductions, remit deductions to the FMBN or provide remittance schedules by which contributors’ monies are easily misappropriated,” he stated.
The e-card is a form of identification card bearing the contributor’s name, participation number and photograph. It also enables the holder to access records of his/her contributions using any of the information technology channels such as Automated Teller Machine, Point-of-Sale terminals and the Internet and print out a statement of account at a computer workstation around the world. Also, the NHF card can be used as an e-wallet to stash extra cash for purchases via POS terminals or online. But only the extra cash, excluding the NHF funds, can be spent.
Meanwhile, the total NHF collections now stands at N118.8 billion, with N66.8 billion of the amount collected over the past three years. As at March 2013, about N100 billion had been disbursed to 73,676 eligible contributors with repayment standing at about N1.7 billion. Of this figure, about N40 billion was disbursed by FMBN to primary mortgage banks (PMBs) for the financing of housing development for 22,246 beneficiaries, while about N60 billion was granted as Estate Development Loan to some private developers, state-owned housing corporations and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) for the construction of 36,348 houses nationwide.
President Goodluck Jonathan, while launching the card, reiterated the the critical importance of housing to the economy of a nation. He called for a strong collaboration between the newly established Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company (NMRC) and the FMBN will stimulate affordable mortgage financing to reduce the cost of housing in Nigeria.