The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria has said contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF) reached N191.9billion in March.

The Acting Managing Director, FMBN, Mr. Richard Esin, said that N5.9bn had been refunded to 118,284 individuals who met conditions for refund, while over 70 per cent of the cumulative collection was recorded in the last five years.

Esin made this known last week at the 15th Lagos Housing Fair, where he was represented by the Lagos Zonal Coordinator of the bank, Mr. Yusuf Yinusa, adding that the money came from 4.14 million registered contributors under the NHF scheme.

“I am pleased to say that the NHF has financed the construction of about 25,606 housing units and advanced 16,506 mortgage loans. Disbursements are pending for the delivery of additional 15,085 housing units and 10,726 mortgage loans,” he said.

According to him, the FMBN has unveiled plans to improve service delivery, which include the introduction of a loan window to integrate the informal sector comprising largely non-salaried workers, who account for as high as 85 per cent of the national workforce into the NHF scheme.

He said this would avail them access to mortgage financing and would be achieved by credit enhancement mechanisms of housing cooperatives and trade unions to improve accessibility.

“By this window, the carpenter, artisan, trader, farmer or taxi driver makes a small monthly contribution and can obtain a mortgage loan or collaborate with members of his or her cooperative society to obtain an estate development loan to construct houses for its members,” Esin stated.

He said the bank had also introduced the ‘Home Renovation Loan’, a form of micro-mortgage to contributors for the improvement and expansion of existing residential properties.

Esin said, “The FMBN intends that this product will be extended to Internally Displaced Persons in the North, who are NHF contributors, to rebuild their homes for resettlement.

“The FMBN has also commenced the automation of the NHF collection process to ensure transparency and accountability. Upon conclusion of the NHF automation process, each contributor will receive SMS or email alerts of monthly deductions and be able to access historical records of contributions online and in real time.

“At a higher level, the FMBN has intensified its collaboration with stakeholders in the management and utilisation of the NHF scheme. A point in case is the partnership with the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association to over time, deliver a total of four million housing units for workers in the formal sector.”

The Chairman, Lagos Housing Fair Committee, Mr. Moses Ogunleye, said the week-long forum focused on the encumbrances in the channels of turning locally-made items into other products for construction purposes and wealth creation.