The Federal Government has stated that several unique programmes and policies are already being implemented in a bid to make housing affordable and accessible in the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Babangida Hussain, disclosed this in his opening remarks at the ongoing 9th National Council on Land, Housing and Urban Development Meeting, holding in Jos, Plateau State.
“The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing is implementing programmes and policies that are aimed at providing affordable and accessible housing to the citizens,” he said
Some of the programmes, according to him, were: “collaboration with the private sectors on the provision of affordable and quality housing in the country through the Site and Services Scheme, improved Land Administration and Management, National Housing Programme which is in the second phase, the development of the Nigeria National Building Code and Energy Efficiency Code.”
Hussaini also explained that the Federal Government had been conscious of its responsibilities, and as such came up with relevant policy measures that would lead to socio-economic wellbeing of the people
He described the theme of the meeting “Housing Delivery in the Covid-19 era and beyond: the Strategies for Affordability and Accessibility” as apt as it would provide opportunity for an extensive discourse by the stakeholders on how to achieve accessibility to and affordability of housing in the country.
In his contribution, the Executive Secretary Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board, Alhaji Ibrahim Mairiga, stated that for the Government to increase access to affordable housing among public servants, it should adjust and harmonize the salaries of core civil servant to improve their capacity to take higher loans that could deliver houses to them.
Alhaji Mairiga made this submission in a paper titled “Housing the Workers: Increasing Access to Affordable Housing For Housing for Public Servants” presented on his behalf by Mr Akinwande Adegbola, the Board’s Head of Public Relations
He also suggested other measures to include: provision of special Federal government grants and outright subsidy towards home ownership and adequate funding of the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB) to enable it provide loans to any civil servant who desires to own a house
Similarly, the Executive Secretary also listed the activation of the inter-ministerial Committee on Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) Program to strengthen collaboration among stakeholders to take off the cost of provision of needed infrastructures like roads, drainages and power.
He further mentioned that the board’s initiatives for increased access and affordable housing included introduction of starter loan scheme which aimed at providing housing loans of between six to eight million Naira for officers on grade level 08 -10 to enable them purchase completed houses, online application and automated loan process to achieve transparency, accountability and inclusion of Federal staff in state and field officers.
Mairiga disclosed that the board was proposing a new enhancement loan for all cadres in the service, adding that this type of loan would encourage workers to own their own homes early in their career service.
In furtherance of this, he said the board had been in partnership with Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH), Family Homes Funds (FHF), indigenous estate developers to ensure it achieves its much -desired result of providing affordable and accessible housing to Federal Public Servants.
By Boade Akinola