By Abiemwense Moru
The Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, says the bill to amend Federal Government Housing Loan Board to administer housing loan scheme to public sector workers will bring succor to public servants.
Dogara said this at a public hearing on the bill on Tuesday in Abuja.
He added that the scheme would bridge the housing deficit and increase productivity in the public sector.
The Speaker explained that the amendment, when it scaled through, would make mortgage facilities more accessible to public servants at lower interest rates than the ones offered by commercial banks.
He noted that “this bill has come at the right time to give succor to civil servants and to enable them to own a house.
“Research has shown that as at September 2016, the lowest recorded interest rate on any mortgage in Nigeria is 19 per cent and requires 25 per cent down payment.
“The question is how many civil servants can afford a mortgage under such harsh condition?.
“It is our objective that when this bill becomes law, most civil servants will have access to a house of their own.
“I sincerely believe that this bill will go a long way in bridging the housing deficit and increasing productivity in our public sector.”
The speaker explained that it was on record that most public servants could not secure accommodation in Abuja due to high cost of rent.
He said that this resulted in majority of civil servants living in Nasarawa and Niger states and commuting to work in Abuja everyday from long distances, thereby affecting productivity.
He recalled that during the 2017 Housing Summit organised in Abuja by Housing Circuit Magazine in partnership with other stakeholders, it was revealed that as at 1991 when National Housing Policy was enacted, Nigeria had a housing deficit of seven million units.
He added that “the current housing deficit had grown alarmingly to 17 million and continued to grow.”
Dogara, therefore, urged stakeholders to proffer solution on how to administer the Housing Scheme for Federal Public Officers “to reduce or eliminate the overall housing deficit in Nigeria.”