Group to sue FG over alleged deduction of 40% from Workers' Housing Fund - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Monday, December 19, 2022

Group to sue FG over alleged deduction of 40% from Workers' Housing Fund

The Housing Development Advocacy Network HDAN has condemned the Federal Government over alleged deduction of 40 percent from contributors to the National Housing Fund NHF.

Executive Director of HDAN, Festus Adebayo who disclosed this at a news conference Monday in Abuja said the network has concluded plans with its legal team to sue the federal government if the decision was not reversed.

According to him, the housing fund is not like the pension fund which was reportedly deducted by the federal government for infrastructure purposes, saying workers who have willingly contributed to the fund deserve to own their houses upon retirement.

He said: "HDAN condemns illegal deduction of 40% of National Housing Fund contributions and other payments by the federal government through the Accountant General's office.

"The Housing Development Advocacy Network wishes to condemn the action of the federal government in deducting 40% of the HMF contribution that is domiciled in the Remita account of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

"The National Housing Fund was set up by decree that made provision for Nigerian workers to contribute 2.5% of their basic salary. Some of these workers who have been working for about 20 to 30 years cannot benefit from this fund. And in fact, most efforts have been made to get many states to be involved but we are here today to condemn the deduction of 40% of that fund from the source by the federal government of Nigeria.

"It is our belief that the primary responsibility of the government is to protect lives and property. In fact, with the situation in the country where the cost of building materials and everything have gone up, there is no other establishment again, that can provide affordable housing, social housing than the government. Why therefore, government that is supposed to provide social housing, affordable housing has not become a government that is the deducting 40% of money contributed by poor Nigeria workers?

"This to us, is the height of maladministration, by this present government. What we expect from the government is to come up with a scheme that will provide housing for those in the lower cadre of the economy, I mean, the low income earners, those that they are approaching now to come and vote for them instead of coming up with a secret plan or secret action of taking the money from poor people. This is not right. We hereby give the federal government end of this month to return all the deductions or face legal action from Housing Development Advocacy Network. We are saying this to uncover what government is doing that is not right.

"We have fought for the success of NHF and we still stand by the success of the NHF. On that note, there is nothing the government will do that will make any worker to withdraw from participating in the National Housing but we will ensure that their money is not taken by any government the way we have been told that majority of the pension fund has been borrowed by the government to do infrastructure. 

"Our housing fund is not for borrowing because it is from people who deserve to own a house and they are providing that money for the purpose of that idea.

"We are calling on the government to recapitalize the Federal Mortgage Bank to be able to perform its responsibility in providing houses for these people. But what we are getting is deduction. 

"It shouldn't be for the purpose of government to borrow it or to take it because the purpose of that money is so serious, and the people that are contributing, are people who really need the help of the government. So you don't take from people who need help from you. 

"Even the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria is not cooperating in giving us the exact amount of money that has been taken and so it is difficult for us to give you he exact figure but the percentage", Adebayo added.

Source: Vanguard

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