Workers threaten to withdraw from National Housing Fund over unremitted funds
The House of Representatives on Wednesday began an investigation into the alleged non-remittance of contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF).
Declaring open the Adhoc Committee investigating the alleged non-remittance of the NHF and the utilisation of the funds from 2011 till date, Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas, said the 10th House would review the NHF Act to make it meet the current realities in the sector in order to provide affordable housing for Nigerians.
However, during the hearing, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) threatened the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to pull out civil servants from the National Housing Fund’s (NHF) contributory funds over the non-remittance of deductions made.
President of NLC, Joe Ajaero who issued the threat said the FMBN had refused to send alerts of how much civil servants have contributed including their monthly deductions.
He urged the lawmakers to take drastic steps to remove the encumbrances to affordable and quality housing to millions of Nigerians especially workers who make the most contributions to the NHF.
This, according, to him is as
identified in the memorandum and other memoranda submitted to the committee.
He said that the immediate past Managing Director of FMBN, Ahmed Dangiwa who is now the Minister of Housing and Urban Development said he left behind N120 billion in the coffers of the bank.
“He said he was able to mobilise 249.1 billion to Nigeria’s housing fund, and
increased subscription to 197,000 between 2017 and 2022.
He said in spite of these milestones, millions of Nigerian workers who are in line with sections four and 10 of the Act are unable to access finance to acquire, build or renovate personal housing property.
He said the ease of reimbursement to retired workers of contributed funds even after failure to access housing loans is also cumbersome and unnerving.
He also noted that in spite making the statutory contributions of 2.5 per cent of annual salary to the NHF, many workers were unable to access the loan due mainly to administrative bottlenecks.
“While the Act provides for 90 days from the date of application for the loan to disbursement, the experience by many workers is horrific as the undue delay in approving the loans force many workers to abandon the pursuit of the loan
He said many resort to third-party agencies to fast-track the loan application at unofficial fees thus creating the perception of corruption in the process of housing loan approval and disbursement to workers who needed the funds.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Managing Director of FMBN, Madu Hamman said that the total amount of contribution from MDAs from 2011 till date is N238 billion, adding that individuals contribution from 2011 till date was N225 million.
He said that the ministerial housing scheme was N34.5 billion.
Reacting to the development, the Chairman of the committee Rep. Musa Bagos while cross-examining the agency said thd documents submitted by the FBN boss was inconsistent
He said should the committee continue with the hearing, many officials of FMBN would be on their way to Kuje prison.
Bagos therefore adjourned the hearing to Aug 24, following a request by the MD to enable them put all the necessary documents together.
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