The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, said that the Federal Integrated Staff Housing Programme (FISH) has recorded over 30,000 potential off-takers in the first quarter of 2017.
Oyo-Ita said this at the 2017 FISH Housing Summit tagged: “Innovative Strategies for Affordable Housing”, on Tuesday in Abuja.
She said that the programme, which was a subset of the Federal Government mass housing scheme, provides the drive for the upliftment of federal civil servants’ welfare.
She added that the summit was a platform to engage stakeholders such as developers, financial institutions, donors as well as off-takers to discuss the options available for achieving a successful FISH programme.
The head of service noted that the Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello was making efforts to provide land for the execution of the FISH programme.
“The First major requirement for successful delivery of affordable housing to civil servants is land which represents about 30 per cent of the cost of houses.
“In order to eliminate or reduce the cost of land, applications were made to the ministry of the Federal Capital Territory for land in Abuja and to some states governors for land in their respective states.
“I am happy to inform you that the minister of FCT is working very hard to provide suitable parcel of land for the FISH programme.’’
She said that another key requirement for the success of the programme was technological construction and finance for mortgage.
She, however, called on expert developers to come on board and partner with them.
Oyo-Ita added that, the programme was sourcing for fund from other places aside the Federal Mortgage Bank and the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board.
She said the sustainability of the programme would depend on the ability of the off-takers to accept the houses and enable real estate developers recoup their investments.
Earlier, Mr Yemi Adelakun, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, said the success recorded in the FISH programme was without the basic requirements.
Adelakun, who is also the Chairman of the programme, added that the basic requirements included land, mortgage, construction technology and construction finance, saying that the strength of the programme lies on its off-takers.
He explained that innovative arrangements were made with developers to provide land technologies and finance in exchange for beneficiaries guarantee.
“We also hope to enter into partnership with manufacturers of building materials for discounted volume prices to drive the cost of houses much lower.
“We also hope that in the near future, a FISH Mortgage Bank will be established.
“All these efforts are geared to provide adequate funding at low interest rate for delivery of affordable housing to public servants whose affordability index is rather low.’’
Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, pledged his support to the programme, commending the Head of Service for the initiative.
Fashola, who was represented by Mr Abubakar Magaji, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, said that providing affordable housing for civil servants was imperative to the present administration.
He noted that the involvement of the private sector in addressing the challenges of civil servants would help in sustaining the programme.