Repeal FMBN Act now, stakeholders urge govt

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 For not performing the roles for which it was established, stakeholders in the built environment have called on the Federal Government to repeal the Act of Parliament that gave impetus to Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).

The FMBN Act was established to aid in bridging the housing deficits in the country through mortgage financing, which the stakeholders believe is far from being the roles. They, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to repeal the Act to give room for its comprehensive re-establishment and board strengthening.

The stakeholders also sought for the establishment of Institute of Mortgage Brokers and Lenders of Nigeria (IMBLN) for the regulation of the sector’s activities to instill efficiency and professionalism. The call was made at House of Representatives Committee on Housing public hearing on a bill for an act to establish the IMBLN and a bill for an act to repeal the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Act, Cap F16, 2004 to make comprehensive provisions for the re-establishment of the FMBN and its board of directors.

The establishment of regulatory institute in the mortgage industry, the stakeholders stressed, will help to instill professionalism, eliminate fraud, remove speculators, provide regulatory framework, entrench sanity and decency, and provide training programmes for practitioners in the sector, among others.

The stakeholders emphasised that the repeal of existing FMBN Act and the re-enactment of an Act re-establishing and strengthening the management and board of the bank will embolden the bank to carry out its functions unimpeded. They specifically called for the recapitalisation of the FMBN from the current N5 billion to at least N1 billion and the inclusion of the critical stakeholders who are contributing to the National Housing Fund (NHF)as members of the board.

Speaking on the role of mortgage, the Managing Director of FMBN, Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, said the establishment of IMBLN will provide standards and make estate business a career. He, however, said that aside FMBN’s support to the repeal of the present Act establishing it, the share capital of the bank should be increased to N500 billion to improve its liquidity.

According to him, the bank should be wholly owned by the Federal Government, adding that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) should not be shareholders of the bank as they cannot be playing the role of regulator and owner at the same time. 

“To be able to play its role of providing affordable housing finance at single digit interest to Nigerians, particularly the low and the middle income earners in Nigeria, FMBN should remain as a government corporation and should continue to manage the NHF,” he said.

Also, the Managing Director of Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Mohammed Al-Amin, while supporting the establishment of a regulatory institute for the mortgage sector, said the bill re-establishing FMBN should enhance its liquidity, remove unnecessary interventions from the Ministry of Finance, eliminate incident of having another agency carrying out the function of FMBN or assigned to manage the NHF because it will create administrative bottlenecks.

Other stakeholders who also made presentations in support of establishing a regulatory institute in the mortgage sector and strengthening FMBN include the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Council of Registered Builders, Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Federal Government Staff Housing Board, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, among others.

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