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FMBN pledges N1b mortgage finance facility to Lagos workers

By Bertram Nwannekanma
19 October 2020   |   3:05 am
Fresh facts emerged last week that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has set aside N1 billion as guarantee for Lagos civil servants, clamouring for homes under the National Housing Fund (NHF).

Mortgage Bank of Nigeria

Fresh facts emerged last week that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has set aside N1 billion as guarantee for Lagos civil servants, clamouring for homes under the National Housing Fund (NHF).

The move, The Guardian, learnt was to make the fund accessible to the I00, 433 workers and reduce housing deficits put at three million in the state.

Executive Director, Operations, Lagos Building Investment Company (LBIC) Plc., the sole appointed mortgage provider for the scheme, Mr. Abiodun Dosunmu, who confirmed the development to The Guardian said the fund was outside other benefits accruable to subscribers.

The state has exited the scheme because what officials called unfavourable policies, which include the meager sum available for workers, bureaucracy involved in the process and inability to get refund by retired workers.

However, with the assured rejuvenation of the scheme, and reduction in the bottleneck involved in accessing the fund, coupled with the avowed commitment of the state towards meeting befitting accommodation for Lagosians, the scheme was revived. Speaking on the return, Dosunmu said the benefits are not totally different from what FMBN is providing under the fund.

According to him, the fact that Lagos state government has been off the scheme for a while, the FMBN is very excited that they are coming back and gave a guarantee of N1billion facility in advance.

Dosunmu stressed that one of the reasons for Lagos exiting the scheme in the first instance was that they are not benefitting enough. He said: “So the FMBN is highly committed this time around to ensure as many people as possible benefit from it.”

They are anxiously expecting the applications so that as soon as we start sending the application to them, they will process it and make the loan available for the civil servants in Lagos state”, he added.

The LBIC official stated that the mortgage provider is already receiving applications and what is left is for FMBN to attach new numbers to the contributors.

He also expressed optimism that these numbers will soon be attached and the applications will be processed and passed to FMBN. Also, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing, Mr. Wasiu Akewusola, said one of the main grouse when the NHF started was that application process takes a long time leading to less than five per cent of the applicants having access to it.

According to him, even those who have access to it, the amount could not do any substantial construction work of buy any housing units.
The scheme then, he said, was not beneficial to any of the subscribers that they are deducting money from their salaries.

“Eventually, the civil servants in Lagos queried why they should be contributing when in Lagos, the cost of owning a housing unit is even higher than any other places in Nigeria, especially when there was blanket ceiling of what you can access”, he said.

Akewusola said one of the outcomes of the exit from NHF was the introduction of the Lagos Homs, promoted in 2012 by the Babatunde Fashola administration.

This, he said, was shortly after the civil servants pulled out of the NHF established in 1992 due to unfavourable template guiding the fund.

According to him, prior to the introduction of Lagos H.O.M. S, in 2012, the only window for all Nigerians to access financial facility for land, housing and basic services is the National Housing Fund (NHF) established in 1992.

For the NHF, the condition is monthly contribution of 2.5per cent of the workers monthly salary. The Lagos HOMS, he said, also has advantage over the NHF in this respect, because while the house choice of the contributor with the NHF is restricted to savings determined by six months pays, the Lagos HOMS beneficiaries can rely on savings outside monthly pay to determine the choice of housing.