Dogara assures on reforms to benefit self-employed
James Emejo in Abuja
The Managing Director/Chief Executive, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Mr. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, on Tuesday accused the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of violating the National Housing Fund (NHF) Act by failing to remit about N1.6 trillion to the fund as at 2016.
Also fingered in the alleged breach of the Act is the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).
Specifically, he said the apex bank in 2016 alone ought to have credited the fund with the sum of, N1.553 trillion which he said is able to provide 300 housing units in each of the 774 local government areas in the country at an average of N6.5 million per housing unit.
His mind-boggling revelation prompted stakeholders to advocate severe sanctions for non-compliance to the NHF Act by individuals and institutions as well as.
He spoke during his submission at a two-day public hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Housing, chaired by Hon. Ahmad Babba Kaita (APC, Katsina) on a motion on the need to ensure full compliance with the National Housing Fund Act for effective housing delivery in Nigeria.
The FMBN boss said the failure by the CBN and to a large extent, other stakeholders to make the remittances to appropriate authorities had continued to deprive Nigerians the opportunity of owning their houses.
Quoting data from the CBN and NAICOM, Dangiwa said between 2011 and 2016, total loans and advances by commercial banks and quantum of non-life and life funds from insurance companies amounted to N66.99 trillion.
He said: â€œAt 10 percent investment of their loan advances and non-life and insurance with the National Housing Fund, about N6.7 trillion should have been invested in the fund by banks and insurance companies over the period.â€
He said: â€œWe therefore, support the motion to ensure full compliance by all stakeholders with the NHF Act for effective housing delivery in Nigeria.â€
The Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) said itâ€™s in full support of compliance with the NHF Act
The Nigeria Law Reform Commission said those in violation of the Act should be brought to book in a court of law and severe punishment for corporate bodies against future violations introduced.
Representative of the organised labour said both the CBN and NAICOM should be held accountable for the sad story in the housing sector.
Earlier, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, however, assured on the commitment of the House to working with stakeholders towards the provision of safe and affordable housing.
While calling for increased private sector participation in order to address the national housing deficit, the proposed amendments would make housing laws more encompassing and introduce the necessary changes, as existing schemes have not been very successful.
Commenting on four bills related to the reform of National Housing Fund and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Dogara said citizensâ€™ welfare should be of utmost importance to any government and shelter should therefore be considered a foremost priority.
According to him, â€œThe government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has a duty and responsibility to carter for the welfare of its people. Housing or shelter is one of the most important and fundamental needs of man. The very concept of human dignity requires that a man should have a roof over his head. This is why the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria provides, inter alia, that the â€œstate shall direct its policy towards ensuring that suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national minimum wage, old-age care and pensions, and unemployment and sickness benefits are provided for all citizensâ€
He said: â€œThe National Housing Funds (NHF) scheme was designed to assist public servants own homes while saving a percentage of their income. The private sector employees were also captured under the Act. Similarly, the government â€“ through mortgage institutions â€“ is expected to provide loans to real estate developers to build low cost houses for the people. Unfortunately, both programmes have not yielded the desired results as Houses are still not within the reach of the generality of Nigerians. Indeed, the provisions of the National Housing Fund Act and Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Act are observed more in breach by most stakeholders mandated to perform one responsibility or the other under the laws. The proposed amendments capture virtually everybody including self-employed persons.
â€œLet me assure you of the determination of the House to collaborate with all stakeholders in ensuring supply of safe and affordable homes and provision of viable legislative frameworks that will lead to private sector participation and ownership in order to reduce these deficits. The Bills being considered today will have far reaching effects on many institutions and stakeholders and these stakeholders should pay attention to the issues and offer workable solutions.â€