The Federal Government has assured of its commitment towards the N500 billion recapitalisation of the apex mortgage firm – Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and facilitation of necessary legislative amendments of relevant housing industry laws including the National Housing Fund (NHF) Act, 1992, FMBN Establishment Act, 1993.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, who made the commitment last week, during FMBN Management Retreat held in Abuja, themed: “Transformational Innovation for Sustainable Development in Uncertain Times,” promised to ensure that FMBN gets all the necessary support at the highest levels possible to deliver maximally and optimally on its mandate to Nigerians.

He said: “As minister, I am committed to being a way maker, facilitator, and catalyst to the evolution of the bank as a modern, impactful and resilient housing finance institution that delivers on the maxim that ‘everyone deserves a home’.”

“We must see FMBN as a tool of service to Nigerians. We must see our jobs, titles, and the salaries that we are paid as recompense for the services that we offer to Nigerians. Ensuring that we offer quality customer service to Nigerians is very important.”

Dangiwa, an architect, said the bank must deliver on the Federal Government’s expectations and the needs of Nigerians for affordable housing. “What this means is that FMBN must transform, innovate and lead a new era of massive housing development and delivery even in these difficult times of high construction costs and lower incomes. This requires a radically new mindset, thinking out of the box and identifying the opportunities that these challenges present,” he said.

The minister, who was the immediate past FMBN managing director, recalled that a lot of work has already been done on the review of the NHF Act and FMBN Establishment Act, having achieved successful passage by the two chambers of the National Assembly, while Presidential assent was declined. He added that the current efforts must specifically identify the reasons for the rejection so that appropriate steps are taken to address the concerns of the relevant stakeholders.

He urged FMBN to make greater effort towards reducing its non-performing loan portfolio and clearance of backlog of its audited accounts, saying, a major step in this regard is to ensure efficient processing and approval of corresponding NHF loans for all completed projects, as well as to ensure effective off take and inter-account settlement to clean up the bank’s books.

Dangiwa noted that the current administration goal is to create a $1trillion economy within the next 10 years. “Therefore, our trajectory in the housing sector must move towards putting a large chunk of this on the table. In this direction, we must deliberately seek to continually increase the real estate sector contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to fulfill its projected role as the bedrock of economic growth and wealth creation,” he added.

Guest Speaker, Special Assistant the President on Economic Affairs, Dr Tope Fasua, said the country has potential for $200 billion investment in housing, attracting foreign investments and growing the economy by double digits.

According to him, the challenge has been the growing dead capital in the country, worth over $900 billion, adding that with artificial intelligence, all land globally will be documented and optimised.

FMBN Managing Director, Mr Madu Hamman, said the institution has been providing mortgage finance and facilitating home ownership for low and medium-income earners through its various schemes and products. However, these efforts are not enough to meet the growing demand for shelter and expectations of the Nigerian people.

He said the housing sector has faced severe shortage of and corresponding high cost of building materials that has negatively impacted the delivery of affordable housing in the country, adding, “These factors demand that we rethink our strategies, policies, and processes to ensure quality, affordable, and sustainable housing to Nigerians.”

Source: The Guardian