An all-inclusive effort towards ensuring that prospective and existing contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) monitor their transactions with relative ease is now underway.
These platforms, which will in no small measure, assist the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) as custodians of the fund, is expected to enhance payment compliance as defaulters will no longer have a hiding place and will be forced to act in accordance with the law by paying their contributions as and at when due.
The launching of the NHF Mobile and Internet Platforms is scheduled to hold at the Executive Hall, International Conference Centre (ICC), Central Business District in Abuja on Wednesday, 19 December 2018. The unveiling is expected to be performed by His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (GCON), Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The NHF Mobile and Internet Platforms, which will help to promote transparency and accountability in the collection of NHF and make it possible for more eligible Nigerians to access NHF accounts, will make it easy for NHF contributors to check their contributions, the amount of money they have contributed to the NHF scheme and thus be in a position to know if their employers are making the appropriate NHF remittances as and at when it is due.
Also embedded with features that secure contributors’ contributions, the platform instantaneously sends an SMS alert to the contributor’s mobile phone when the USSD Transactional Codes are used. According the apex mortgage bank, these platforms were aimed to ensure proper record-keeping, transparency and accountability for NHF collections, adding that the platform prevents flagrant violation of the NHF Act and unlawful practices by employers who fail to effect statutory deductions, remit deductions to the FMBN or provide remittance schedules by which contributors’ monies are easily misappropriated.
The NHF Mobile and Internet Platforms are a huge step forward in delivering the advantages of speed, accuracy, transparency, accountability and superior customer experiences to NHF contributors, both employed and self-employed, as they enable contributors’ access to records of contributions using any of the mobile channels or the internet.
On a steady march towards bridging the huge housing deficit in Nigeria, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Architect Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, is determined to give contributors to the National Housing Fund reasons for renewed optimism. The bank, under his watch, appears to be leading some remarkable feet particularly with its promotion of the innovative reforms such as business process automation, corporate governance framework, enterprise risk management framework, advocacy for legal/regulatory framework reviews and the rendition of outstanding financial statements.
However, in its 25 years of existence, less than 80,000 mortgages have been accessed from FMBN and out of a workforce of 70 million, less than 4.5 million contribute in the NHF scheme.
Only recently, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, pledged support for Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to realise its mandate. Idris gave this assurance when he received in the audience the management team of the bank at the Treasury House in Abuja led by the Managing Director and Chief Executive, Architect Ahmed Musa Dangiwa. He described as gratifying, the recent efforts of the bank to deploy ICT in managing its operations especially with regards to its contribution to the National Housing Fund (NHF) which are contributed by public servants across the nation.
He also said further: “Leveraging on our experiences in the implementation of the nations public finance reforms, which has been largely ICT driven and which has been widely acclaimed as successful, we will be ready to provide the needed support and guide in helping you achieve this all-important step, which I believe will bring renewed confidence to your customers and contributors”.
He further explained that the IPPIS platform on which the payment are carried out is constantly being improved to meet all the staff needs as it captures details of deductions and contributions made on the salary of staff, assuring that the Office of the AGF will do all it can to assist the mortgage bank to ensure transparency in handling the NHF, which is 2.5 per cent of the basic salary of contributors. “The synergy that has existed between us would be deepened for the mutual benefit in our organisation” the AGF stressed.
Also, Dangiwa expressed his appreciation to the Account-General of the Federation for what he described as the smooth operation of the Treasury Single Account and other reforms being implemented by the Treasury since the AGF assumed the saddle of leadership at the Treasury.