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Contributions To National Housing Fund Hit N372bn

Contributions To National Housing Fund Hit N372bn

Contributions to the National Housing Fund reached N372.82bn in January, information obtained from the Federal Mortgage Bank has shown.

The number of contributors has also risen to 5, 027, 489 across the country.

The FMBN had in 2016 put the total figure at N191.9bn from 4.14 million registered contributors.

The NHF scheme, managed by the FMBN, is a mandatory contribution of 2.5 per cent of monthly income of employed Nigerians earning N3000 and above per annum, whether self-employed or in paid employment.

Contributors to the scheme also include commercial and merchant banks, expected to invest 10 per cent of their loans and advances portfolio.

Insurance companies are mandated to invest 20 per cent of their non-life and 40 per cent of their life funds in the housing sector with 50 per cent of these directly in the funds.

The Federal Government also makes financial contributions to the fund.

Despite the rise in the amount contributed, stakeholders posit that the NHF had yet to achieve its objectives of making housing provision for Nigerians easy.

An estate surveyor and valuer, Chief Kola Akomolede, told newsmen that certain aspects of the fund had not been implemented.

Akomolede, who was part of the committee that assisted in setting up the fund, said many states and private companies were not remitting parts of their workers’ salaries to the NHF.

He also stated that the process of borrowing from the fund was cumbersome, and had discouraged many from accessing the NHF.

He said, “The state governments are making deductions from workers’ salaries but they don’t remit to the fund.

“One of the reasons they give is that they have no branch of the FMBN in their states as they wonder how they can benefit from contributing to the fund. Labour unions are against it; they believe that low-income earners will not benefit because they cannot meet the conditions to enable them to borrow from the fund.

“Some companies that are supposed to contribute certain percentage of their income to the fund don’t contribute, which is a problem.”

According to Akomolede, another problem is that the high income people that can benefit complain that the amount given to them is not enough to meet their housing needs as the maximum loan from the NHF for individuals is N15m.

He noted that considering the present state of the economy, N15m might not get a decent accommodation for an average contributor to the scheme.

Akomolede added, “There is a need to redesign the whole process, even some people who are contributing are not even aware the money is being deducted from their salaries. So, there is a need to create awareness or a sort of re-launching.

“Then the Federal Government should look at areas that have not been implemented and compel people to comply.”

The Chairman, Sparklight Property Development Company Limited, Toyin Adeyinka, stated that despite its limitations, the NHF had been the most viable window for long-term mortgage in the country at six per cent interest rate per annum and up to 30-year tenure.

He, however, called on the FMBN to shorten the processing time so as to encourage more people to key into the scheme.

The National Deputy President, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Mr Akintoye Adeoye, said the NHF had stimulated the housing sector through its single-digit interest mortgage.

He added that the limitation had remained the low contribution. He urged the Federal Government to recapitalize the FMBN.

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