The minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has assured that the federal government wants to boost civil servants’ welfare needs in terms of housing for effective service delivery.
This, the minister explained, is the reason the government is backing the staff housing programme known as Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH).
The minister spoke at the ground-breaking for the construction of 116 housing units under the FISH programme in the Gwagwalada area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, describing civil servants as critical components of national development.
“That is the reason the administration is paying special attention to their living condition,” he said, listing other benefits as government’s support for states to clear their salaries liabilities; civil servants salary review; pension reforms, and the removal of equity contribution on the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria’s (FMBN) housing loan that is below N5 million for civil servants.
Fashola commended the leadership of the ministry’s public building and housing directorate for their commitment to securing the land and the development of the site master plan and infrastructure that would attract private developers’ investment interest in the sector.
He assured Gwagwalada Area Council, the host community, of government’s continued support and effort in developing the area, citing the recent tax credit policy investment on infrastructure, and also the Abaji- Lokoja road as part of the beneficiaries.
In a related development, the federal government, under its National Affordable Housing Delivery (NAHD) programme, will be delivering 3,560 housing units for federal civil servants.
The houses are to be delivered in phases 1 and 2 of the housing programmes and will comprise one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, with prices ranging from N3.1 to N8.3 million.
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Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) is promoting the programme in partnership with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA).
The partnership, according to Timan Elayo, Group Head, Corporate Communications at FMBN, is aimed to deliver decent, safe and quality housing for workers at affordable prices, assuring that plans were on to commission 1,071 completed houses in project sites nationwide.
“The Joint Implementation Committee of the Programme, comprising NLC, TUC and NECA has approved the commissioning exercise in eight states,” Elayo said, adding that there would be 100 housing units in Akure, Ondo State; 100 units in Yola, Adamawa State; 315 units in Katsina, 90 units in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, and 180 units in Damaturu, Yobe State.
Others are 100 housing units in Sokoto, Sokoto State, 86 units in Maiduguri, Borno State, and 100 units in Kogi State.
Hamman Madu, FMBN’s managing director, commended the completion of the first batch of the housing units, applauding the labour centres for their cooperation and support for the programme.
Madu also commended the collaborative spirit that has been shown that is giving room for labour leaders and NECA to understand the realities and financial challenges that workers face, while making constructive inputs to the housing designs, pricing and other relevant conditions for delivering the project.
Folashade Yemi Esan, Head of Service of the Federation, had earlier commended the minister for providing the expansive land in a prime area, spanning over five hectares for the construction of the housing units.
She stressed that the houses would alleviate the suffering of the civil servants, describing the ground-breaking event as a watershed in accelerating attainment of government’s agenda of ensuring the welfare of civil servants through the provision of affordable housing.
According to her, the FISH programme was conceptualised as a vehicle to address the current housing deficit faced by Nigerians, especially civil servants.