By Abujah Racheal
Dr Hannatu Fika, the Executive Secretary, Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB), said that the board had helped over 30,000 workers to access loans to own houses.
Fika made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Monday in Abuja.
She said that public servants were the engine room of good governance, adding that one way the government could encourage workers was to provide them with shelters.
She said it was for this reason that the current administration had used FGSHLB to enable Federal Government workers to build houses.
Fika disclosed that the board had helped over 30,000 workers access loans to own houses, and reaffirmed the commitment of the board to the welfare of Public Servants.
“This is a change era, the good thing any government can do for its workers is to provide certain basic welfare needs so that they too can work effectively, diligently and willingly for the country.
“Until 1974 the programme was only situated in the Lagos territory but was expanded to all the states of the federation.
“So as of today, from the statistics of loans that we recently disbursed, we can proudly say that we have touched the lives of over 30,000 federal public servants, who now own their own homes through the FGLSHB revolving scheme’’, she said.
Fika said the housing deficit in the country might persist if the relevant agencies lacked the resources to operate.
“We will continue to pressurise government to make fund available for housing programmes.
“We have over hundreds of thousands number of civil servants that come under our purview they are so many,” she stressed.
She, however, said “as long as funds are not there, we have to utilise what is in the mortgage agency to be able to build these houses’’.
Fika lauded the efforts of the present administration in providing houses for Nigerians, especially through the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing’s projects in all the states.
According to her, amendment to the act establishing the board is long overdue.
“Let me begin by saying this is a change era, and the art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings. Progress is impossible without change, therefore, change is inevitable.
“The last amendment was in 1974, about 44years, without sentiment, there are provisions that are obsolete like Section 3 (1h) of Cap F.II.LFN 2004 no longer exist in service,” she said.
She disclosed that some critical areas like area of partnerships required a law for sustainability, appropriate designation of officers of the Board, offences.
According to her, to participate in partnership for the affordability and availability of housing for eligible public servants, the board signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with both government and private organisations.
She said that this was in an effort to look outside the box in order to address the housing need of teeming population of federal staff.
NAN recalls that the board has disbursed over one billion naira as renovation loan to 2,000 civil servants across the country.
The renovation loan was being managed by the loans board on behalf of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria as agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2015 by the two agencies.