FG commits N30 billion to housing programme
Registers 23,000 civil servants, lists challenges
The Federal Government yesterday said it had committed over N30 billion to provide affordable houses for civil servants under the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme.
It said it had equally registered no fewer than 23,000 civil servants nationwide for the programme.The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HCSoF), Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, who gave the details at a one-day housing workshop yesterday in Abuja, said that the programme was a strategic initiative designed purposely as an intervention project for massive housing delivery to federal civil servants predicted on soliciting for group land allocation with title deeds and relevant documents from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) administration and the states.
She said: ‘’The financial commitments in this arrangements, which is currently in the region of N30 billion, brought us to the realisation that we require innovative strategies in financing the FISH project beyond the traditional sources like the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB), which grants housing loans to public servants at three per cent interest rate and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), which grants mortgage at six per cent interest rate through primary mortgage institutions to civil servants and other Nigerians who are contributors to the National
She further said that the programme, launched by the government last year, was aimed at reducing the bottlenecks usually encountered in securing land for good cause projects and most importantly, to eliminate middlemen and land speculations from the housing value-chain.
Oyo-Ita noted that the progress made so far has witnessed several challenges, including the ‘’land construction finance, mortgage loans, rising cost of building materials, high interest rate on borrowed funds, especially those from off-shore investors compared to income of potential housing benefits.’’
She, therefore, called on stakeholders in the affordable housing delivery sub-sector to assist in finding ways and means of solving the housing challenges in the country.
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Common Services Office of the Head of Service and Chairman of the FISH committee, Yemi Adelakun, said: ‘’Our committee has looked in the direction of Pensions Commission of Nigeria, Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company, Central Bank of Nigeria, Sovereign Wealth Authority and Family Homes Fund in search of revolving or special intervention funds at single-digit interest rate. The minister of finance recently announced the approval of N13 billion mortgage refinancing fund through NMRC and FGSHLB for the programme.’’
The workshop is expected to come up with better ways to finance the project for the benefit of Nigerians.