Finance minister inaugurates family homes funds board


Charges them to deliver on their mandate

ByOluwaseun Sonde and Oduola Funmi, Abuja

The Nigeria Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed recently inaugurated the Board of Directors of  the largest Federal Government Social Housing Scheme – Family Homes Funds – at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

The event marks a milestone in the administration of Family Homes Funds who are vested with the responsibility of significantly bridging the housing gap in Nigeria by building at least 500,000 affordable houses by 2023 and creating up to 1.5 million jobs in the process.

Family Homes Funds which operates in partnership with several financial and corporate institutions to deliver affordable homes for low to medium income earners in Nigeria is under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance.

While speaking at the inauguration, the Minister, Zainab Ahmed said that the appointment of the members of the board is a testimony of President Muhammadu Buhari’s trust in their ability to champion affordable housing provision in Nigeria through Family Homes Funds.

She said, ”Family Homes Funds is a critical part of the Federal Government goal of bridging the housing gap in Nigeria. Affordable housing is one of the core areas of concern for this government and the government is committed to supporting Family Homes Funds through provision of funding and supervision.

With the inauguration of this board, the Federal Government expects results that are measurable and top rate corporate governance. There should be reliable stewardship of resources, and you must be creative, bold and ambitious.

”It’s the largest housing fund in the history of Nigeria and if successful, it has the potential not only to change lives but boost the economy and attract investments and mobilise resources through other financial institutions.”

She further encouraged the board and the Fund to build and seek partnerships and collaborates with as many institutions concerned with affordable housing as possible.

”The board will have the responsibility to raise significant third party finances to achieve their goal. Ministry of finance will do its own part in terms of support and direct coordination with you. We will closely monitor activities of the board, and ensure that due processes are followed. I have no doubt that with the calibre of the board and the people at the Family Homes Funds, they will deliver,” she added.

The newly inaugurated board is chaired by Alhaji Suleiman Barau, a former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.

Other members of the board include Femi Adewole, the MD of Family Homes Funds; Surveyor Mohammed Rashid Umar; Uche Orji of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority; Aliyu Ahmed; Architect Muhammad Adamu Gimba; and C.A Ogwoma.

Speaking shortly after their inauguration, the Board Chairman, Alhaji Suleiman Barau said that the board will hold its first meeting immediately and take into consideration everything that the Minister has mentioned.

He said that the board will pledge to provide leadership in different areas of expertise, and ensure that governance at Family Homes Funds is strengthened.

”We have been tasked by the President through the Minister, and we have heard all the important tasks that have been listed. What we are going to do now is to look at them carefully and deliver on them. And one of those tasks is to deliver 500,000 homes for Nigerians and up to 1.5 million jobs. We have a very strong board composed of people from different disciplines with years of experience from real estate and finance sectors. Given Nigeria’s housing deficit, we even hope to see a Family Homes Funds that will go beyond the stated mandate of providing 500,000 affordable houses and 1.5 million jobs for Nigerians,” he said.

He also revealed that Family Homes Funds has planned a governance workshop for all board members including members of staff. The duty of the board according to him is to build on the progress that has been made; work professionally with the management to provide the kind of leadership that will enable them deliver on the mandate.

Following shortly with his reaction, the MD/CEO of Family Homes Funds, Femi Adewole thanked the Ministry of Finance for their support, and that they were now taking things to the next level with the successful inauguration of their board of directors.

”This is a very big landmark in the sense that the honourable Minister has now inaugurated the board of directors for the fund. That enables us to develop the strong corporate governance that is needed to do what we have to do. So for me, this is a stage two of development of the Family Homes Funds which now positions us for the big result we are expecting.

”After this, we have are going to have the very first meeting of the board and there we will develop agenda for the next three to four months, and hopefully out of those discussions we will begin to see some very new commitments for large scale housing across the country,” he said.

The MD said that they acknowledge the enormity of their mandate and promise to make Nigerians proud through partnerships and by repaying the trust reposed on them.