Banks, insurance firms investing poorly in housing — FHA

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Okechukwu Nnodim

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria has said that banks and insurance companies have failed to make the required investment in the National Housing Fund scheme since the enactment of the Act.

Managing Director of FMBN, Ahmed Dangiwa, said this in his presentation at the office of the bank in Abuja while playing host to the Senate Committee on Housing.

The committee visited the bank as part of its oversight function on ministries, departments and agencies of government.

Dangiwa told his guests that the potential of the investment by banks and insurance firms in the fund was significant to addressing the financial housing needs across the country.

He said in 2016 alone, Deposit Money Banks had a combined loan of N15tn, which would have attracted not less than 50 per cent of N1.5tn investment in the NHF schemes as 10 per cent of the banks’ loan portfolio.

The mortgage bank boss further stated that only two states of the federation, Kano and Oyo, were yet to rejoin the NHF scheme by way of deductions and remittances required from the states’ Local Government employees.

Dangiwa said the bank intended to expand its NHF contributor base from the current five million by seeking the integration of the informal sector.

It said the bank would adopt strategic cooperative societies, which majority of the informal sector groups belong to, as this would enable the bank to mobilise operators in that space and grant them access to FMBN’s products and services.

The FMBN’s boss also pleaded for the support of the National Assembly to revisit the bill for the N500bn recapitalisation of the bank.

He said in 2018, the National Assembly passed the bill to review the FMBN and NHF Acts respectively, adding that the President withheld assent to the bill in 2019.

He said, “The support of the senate committee is required for a review of the bills and further consultation and inputs from stakeholders to ensure the re-presentation of the bills for the president’s assent.

“One of the bills provides for a new capital structure for the bank and a new capital base of N500bn, which will improve corporate governance by inclusion of labour representatives on the board.

“It will also empower the bank to exercise the power to raise funds from the local and foreign capital markets.”

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing, Senator Sam Egwu, assured the bank that the National Assembly would support FMBN on the issue of compliance by banks and insurance companies.