Nigeria to provide housing for civil servants

By Rahila Lassa, Abuja

The Nigerian Government has reiterated its commitment to bridge the deficit in the Housing sector.

The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, was speaking at the 2017 summit of the Federal Integrated Staff Housing, FISH- Programme held in Abuja.

Mrs Oyo-Ita said that the initiative provided an impetus to uplift the welfare of the federal civil servants.

“The summit is another milestone that signposts an expanded frontier in the engagement of stakeholders such as developers, financial institutions, organised private sector, relevant government ministries and agencies, international organisations and donors amongst others to discuss various options available towards a successful FISH-PROGRAMME,’’ she said.

Affordable house
Mrs Oyo-Ita stated that her leadership was committed “to repositioning of Service to motivate the workforce primarily through the provision of accessible, decent and affordable housing as a compact welfare system.’’

She explained that reforms in the service such as monetisation has eroded the era when civil service use to be an enviable job hence giving room to corruption, absenteeism and other negative behaviours among civil servants.

Mrs Oyo-Ita, however, said that the FISH-programme would reverse the dwindling fortunes of the service and restore its lost glory.

“So far, the programme has enjoyed the goodwill of several public and private institutions towards consolidating a public sector programme without the conventional contract awards system.

“The sustainability of the programme is dependent on the ability of the off-takers to afford the houses to enable real estate developers to recoup their investment,’’ the Head of Service added.

The Permanent Secretary Common Services in the office of the Head of Service and Chairman, FISH implementation Committee, Yemi Adelakun said the summit focused on innovative partnerships, financing and innovative management that would engender effectiveness of the FISH-Programme.

Adelakun stated that innovative arrangements were made with developers to provide lands, technologies and finance in exchange for off-takers guarantees.

He said the developers have agreed to produce houses at discounted prices without compromising the quality.

The FISH programme has entered into partnerships with 10 primary mortgage bankers to facilitate prompt processing of mortgage applications with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.

The Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board is another partner. Its Executive Secretary, Dr Hannatu Fika signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the developing partners on behalf of the civil servants.

So far, about 30,000 federal civil servants have indicated interest in the initiative and have registered.

The 2017 summit of the Federal Integrated Staff Housing, FISH- Programme has its theme as “Innovative strategies for affordable housing.”

Mercy Chukwudiebere