BEVERLY HILLS, CA, November 26, (THEWILL) – The Borno State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said on Tuesday that its members won’t subscribe to the National Housing Fund (NHF) for now.
Maintaining that it would maintain its stand until the scheme is run in a transparent manner, the state NLC said past experience has shown that the housing scheme is simply a drain pipe.
The Borno NLC chairman, Comrade Ali Abana, who stated this while speaking at an NHF sensitisation workshop for stakeholders in Maiduguri, the state capital, hinged the decision of the labour union on the inability of the Fund to show details of the previous deductions from workers .
“We will not allow workers contribution into the NHF for now. This is because the fund has not been able to show transparency in the deductions of workers contribution into the scheme in the past.
“At the inception of the scheme in 1994, the organised labour in the state began contributions into the fund and by 2004, we have contributed N100 million. But on inquiry, we realised that there were no records regarding individual workers’ contributions, even where some records existed, there were no details enough.
“For instance, instead of showing employees 2.5 percent monthly contributions over a period, what we have was only organisations’ names and the deductions made. In some record for organisation like the Borno Radio and Television Services(BRTV), what was stated in the NHF sheet was “contributions for Umar Mohammed and others instead of individual workers name and their contributions, I think this is fraud,'”Abana alleged.
He noted that NLC has a duty to ensure the protection of deductions made from workers’ salaries.
“We want the NHF to show us clearly where they have kept our N100 million deductions and how the employees can access the money. We also want to know how the next of kin of those who have died can get their money back ,” he added.
The labour leader maintained that though the state government had persuaded NLC to allow resumption of workers contributions into the fund in August , the failure of NHF to show transparency resulted in the non-workability of the arrangement.
“In August 2013 the state governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, intervened to allow resumption of workers contribution due to his laudable housing programme. But the inability of the NHF to adopt transparency in the deductions of the contributions frustrated the efforts,” he said.
In her contribution at the event, the Borno NHF Comptroller, Mrs Fatsuma Waziri, said the workshop was part of efforts to sensitise labour leaders on the need to key into the funds activities in the state.
“Borno office has collected the sum of N100,265,669 as NHF contribution between 1994 and 2000 from the state civil servants.
“The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) refunded N13,671,542.86 contributions to 846 contributors on either retirement, incapacitation or death,” Waziri disclosed.
She said the FMBN was currently financing construction of 562 units of houses along Damboa road uder the ministerial pilot scheme which will be sold to interested NHF contributors.