From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
In order to provide affordable houses for civil servants across the country, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, Tuesday disclosed that her office is in discussion with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make some special funding intervention into the Federal Housing Loan Board in order to ameliorate the poor financing of the Federal Integrated Staff Housing Programme (FISH).
This is even as she reiterated that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration places high premium on the welfare of workers and remains committed to exploring all avenues of improving the living conditions of civil servants.
The HoS stated this at the commissioning of 18 units of two-bedroom block of flats consisting of four flats at Technocrats Estate, Mararaba, Nasarawa State and 54 units of two-bedroom at Solutionist Estate, in Karish, in FCT for civil servants.
According to her, the partnership with CBN would address the concern of the increasing cost of housing, high interest rate on mortgage finance and the poor funding of the Federal Government Housing Loan Board, which served as primary mortgage institution for the FISH Programme.
In addition, she assured that her office is also engaging chief executives of some relevant MDAs of government to mobilise support of their institutions for the implementation of the housing programme.
The FISH programme was initiated in 2015 as a welfare scheme to provide quality and affordable housing to civil servants through facilitation of loan and mortgage facilities at a single interest rate.
However, the programme has been constrained by poor funding, lack of budgetary allocation, non-availability of land and mortgage and alternate financing, among other critical areas.
Yemi- Esan said that her office was in talk with the federal government loan board to make loan available to workers for them to pay back within the period of their service rather than approve such loans when they are about exiting service.
She also said the Ministry of Works and Housing has allocated five hectres of land in Gwagwalada Area Council to the FISH programme while efforts are being made towards the mobilization to cite as soon as possible.
Yemi-Esan, the additional housing is undoubtedly a laudable achievement and a boost to the collective determination in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to provide decent, safe, comfortable and affordable homes for all civil servants.
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Source: Nigerian Newspapers Online