The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has issued a stern warning, announcing its potential withdrawal of workers from the National Housing Fund’s (NHF) contributory funds, citing a concerning lack of remittance for deductions made.
In a significant development, NLC President, Joe Ajaero, delivered this ultimatum in Abuja during his appearance before the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee.
The committee is currently investigating the non-remittance to the NHF and the utilization of funds from 2011 up to the present time.
Ajaero underscored that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) had failed to provide proper notifications to civil servants regarding their contributions and monthly deductions.
Urging the lawmakers to take decisive measures, Ajaero highlighted the need to eliminate obstacles to accessible and high-quality housing for millions of Nigerians, particularly the diligent workers who contribute most to the NHF.
These concerns were articulated in various submissions to the committee, including memoranda and testimonies.
Ajaero revealed that despite the notable achievements, numerous Nigerian workers were facing difficulties in accessing funds for personal housing properties, as per the stipulations of Sections 4 and 10 of the Act.
Ajaero criticized the bureaucratic hurdles and inefficiencies in the process, citing instances where delays caused workers to abandon their loan applications.
He pointed out that this situation sometimes led workers to seek help from third-party agencies, implying a hint of corruption in the housing loan approval process.
Madu Hamman, the Managing Director, presented figures reflecting a total contribution of N238 billion from ministries, departments, and agencies since 2011.
Individual contributions during the same period amounted to N225 million, with an additional N34.5 billion designated for the ministerial housing scheme.
Musa Bagos, Chairman of the committee, issued a stern warning that if the hearing continued without satisfactory explanations, several officials from FMBN could potentially face legal consequences.
In response to a request from the managing director, Bagos adjourned the hearing to the next day, allowing for the compilation of necessary documents.
The NLC’s threat to withdraw workers from the NHF’s contributory funds stands as a significant challenge to the status quo, underscoring the pressing need for transparency, accountability, and efficiency in managing these funds that play a critical role in securing affordable housing for Nigerian workers.
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