Buhari committed to bridging Nigeria’s 17 million housing deficit —Oyo-Ita

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THE Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari, attaches great importance to meeting the housing need of Nigerians and in particular bridging the about 17 million deficit in the housing sector.

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Abuja, Oyo-Ita, said government was particularly concerned about the plight of most civil servants working in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, who are compelled to reside in slums and poor houses in suburbs of FCT.

She said this was one of the reasons for the introduction of the Federal Integrated Staff Housing Programme (FISH-P) by the current administration which a sub-set of the federal government mass-housing scheme aimed at uplifting the welfare of the federal civil servants.

She said: “You may recall that at my meeting with Mr. President few weeks ago, this issue was topical in the discussion which further demonstrates the overwhelming support he lends to this programme.

“In the past, the Civil Service was highly respected and made attractive to potential white collar job seekers, particularly due to incentives and motivations in decent and tastefully furnished apartment made available to new entrants into the civil service, mostly within the Government Residential Areas.

“Presently, that era is gone as a result of public sector reforms especially the monetisation policy. This has impacted adversely on the officers’ welfare and hence productivity.

“Most civil servants are in a situation where generally, decent housing is unaffordable for an average civil servant hence contributing to corruption, absenteeism, and other negative behaviors thus making the thought of retirement a nightmare.

“Civil servants are left with no other choice but to gravitate towards cheap and poor quality housing in distant suburbs of the FCT and have to travel from distant places to get to work within Abuja city.

“Therefore, to reverse the dwindling fortunes of civil servants and restore the dignity and pride of the workforce, the FISH programme was designed to alleviate the housing challenges faced by civil servants in obtaining affordable and decent housing accommodation in and around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other interested States,” she said.

 

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