The managing director/chief executive officer of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Mr Gimba Ya’u Kumo, has revealed that his conferment as the LEADERSHIP Public Officer of the Year 2014 is a challenge to deliver more affordable housing to Nigerians, adding that shelter is an important aspect of human life.
FMBN, which is a secondary mortgage institution committed to addressing housing deficit in Nigeria, has been able to raise home ownership rate from 25 per cent to 40 per cent under the leadership of the current managing director.
Kumo, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja shortly after receiving the award by the management of LEADERSHIP Group Limited, noted that once a public officer has been singled out for award, that individual is expected to provide more services to its people.
While thanking the media for providing the platform for the award, he maintained that FMBN was working assiduously towards providing renovation loans to address the housing needs of contributors of National Housing Fund (NHF) who were displaced by insurgents.
He expressed worry that the inaccessibility of the NHF was hinged on the fact that Nigeria has over four million contributors that contribute 2.5 per cent of the salaries, adding that the contributions were too meagre to address their housing needs.
According to him, “The housing situation is beyond the thinking of ordinary man and if we don’t intervene, we will be in the crisis for the next 15 to 20 years because the houses and facilities available have been over-stretched.”
Kumo stated that federal government and FMBN alone cannot address the 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria, and noted that it would take the government and developers 18 years to bridge the housing gap.
On repayment of loans, he said, “Nigerians are good in repaying loans but the absence of long-term finance for loans and mortgage is our major problems because most Nigerians cannot afford the current interest rate regime of repaying loans.”
He further revealed that FMBN would soon unveil new products like rent-to-own and housing programmes for lecturers, saying that the pilot projects would be kick-started for lecturers at the federal universities before extension to lecturers in other institutions.