Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) yesterday directed the new board of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to begin the process of exiting all businesses entered into outside the provisions of the law setting up the 40-year-old bank.
Speaking during the inauguration of the new board and management of the bank in Abuja, the former Lagos state governor urged the board to separate personal wants from the public interest.
He warned against hiding under the part of the laws guiding the bank’s operations which allows the members to: “Do anything and enter into any transaction which in his opinion is necessary to ensure proper performance of his functions under the act,” maintaining that the provision had been abused.
Aside Mr Ayodej Gbeleyi, a Chartered Accountant, who was earlier appointed as Chairman of the board, others include the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Hamman Madu, representing the North-east zone as well as Umar Zubaida, Executive Director, Finance and Corporate Services – representing the North-west.
Also on the board are Chukwuma Kingsley, Executive Director, Business Development and Portfolio Management – representing the South-south zone; and Lukman Olayiwola, Executive Director, Loans and Mortgage Services– representing the North-central zone.
Others include: Abimbola Asein from the South-west zone – representing the Federal Ministry Of Works And Housing; Ejezie Sandra Nkechi, South-east – representing the public, as well as two representatives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
The minister reminded the board that their performance will determine their future on the board.
“If you act individually or collectively to make the bank do something outside of what the law empowers you to do, you have become liable,” he warned.
According to him, some boards in the past had gone beyond their call of duty to enter into deals that were clearly outside the law setting them up.
He added: “In the tenure of some boards in the past before the coming of this administration, this bank has been made to do things the law never contemplated. They have ventured into businesses outside their scope. And this has resulted in some public liabilities that we inherited in 2015.
“And I regret to inform you that it is now your responsibility to confront those liabilities and resolve them. In addition, I expect this management to bring to a lawful end all other ventures into which this bank has dabbled which are not supported by law.”
He asked the bank to focus on its core mandate, stressing that it’s the reason most members of the board are bankers with many years of experience.
Fashola called on the new board to engage the CBN on all compliance issues, urging them to take advantage of the diversity in terms of gender and ethnicity and professions.
He told the group that it remains a privilege to be chosen among millions of Nigerians, insisting that it was not an opportunity for self-help, but a time to serve the public selflessly.
According to him, whereas there have been situations whereby even some boards became a problem on their own, any member who falls short of set standards will be recommended for sack.
In its response, the newly constituted board of the bank assured the government that it will not fail in the discharge of its assignment to reposition the bank for the growth of the housing sector in Nigeria.
The new Managing Director and CEO, Madu, explained that housing remains one of the basic human needs, adding that access to housing finance is a critical ingredient in achieving this.
He assured that the board and the management will work harmoniously to reposition the bank and deliver on its core mandate by providing credit facilities through mortgage institutions in Nigeria.
“We are excited to be chosen to undertake this onerous responsibility this period in the life of our great nation Nigeria. Housing is one of the basic human needs and access to housing finance is the critical ingredient in achieving this.
“I will like to commit that on behalf of the executive management and the board, we will ensure that we work harmoniously to reposition the FMBN to deliver on its core mandate.
“We will mobilise both domestic and offshore funds into the housing sector and link the capital market with the housing industry,” he pledged.
He further promised to ensure that the bank is restored to the path of growth and continue to take on the challenging task with the support of the federal government.
Madu also assured the government that the management and board of the bank will ensure that all critical assets of the bank are recovered and properly accounted for.
“We will also ensure that we do not take up unnecessary projects without knowing their deadlines. Projects that are entered without deadlines usually amount to wastes. We promise that we will not fail in this assignment,” he promised.
Source : This Day