30,258 Civil Servants have benefitted from housing loans granted by the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB) since 1954 when the board officially started granting housing loans to civil servants.
This was revealed on Tuesday by the Board’s Executive Secretary, Dr Hannatu Adamu Fika during a press briefing in Abuja.
While speaking on her stewardship since she came into office in 2009, Fika said that prior to that time (2009), only 12,538 housing loans were granted by previous administrations since 1954 when the board officially started given housing loans to civil servants.
‘’For over 50 years, the board was only able to deliver 12,538 loans to civil servants, but since we came in in 2009, we have been able to on our own surpass that number and have enabled 17,720 civil servants obtain their own homes through our loans scheme. This is what has brought the total number to 30,258,’’ she said.
Fika who will be leaving office by the end of October this year stated that under her tenure so far, the board has been able to achieve reasonable results with regards to the board’s mandates.
She revealed that since 2010, the board has been partnering with private property developers who build the houses demanded by the civil servants.
‘’We relate with the property developers through the civil servants themselves who must have recommended them worthy enough. So far, these property developers have built a lot of estates including 10 in Abuja for civil servants,’’ she said.
The board according to her has established a well-structured payment unit that take responsibility for civil servants repayment of the loan without any room for default.
‘’We have an arrangement with SunTrust Bank to manage and track all the loans that have been obtained.’’
The board has also come to the aid of civil servants who got some housing loans that were too expensive for them to pay back. According to her, the board was able buy back some of those loans, notably from Aso Savings Bank.
The performance of the board according to her has been able to convince the government to improve on their allocation over the past years. From a meagre N80 million in the past, the board now gets up to N2 billion naira budgetary allocation.
In terms of partnership, they have been able to partner with Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to deliver homes for civil servants in Lagos and Abuja. For staffs who also wish to take homes renovation loans, the board has also been able to work with the Federal Mortgage Bank to meet that need.
Speaking about agendas that are in progress, she said that there is an ongoing demand before the National Assembly to repeal the law establishing the board in order to address some critical areas that are not contained in the current act of establishment.
‘’For example, there is no limit of tenure for the executive secretary of the board, hence, the need for legislation that will specifically state the number of tenures that an executive secretary is supposed to serve.
‘’We also need the law to permit the board to extends its partnership, especially in the area of funding, so that it can have access to private sector funding in order to build more homes for civil servants.
‘’Though we are currently located in the Head of Service, but there is still a provision in our establishment that states that the board should answer to the minister of housing. These are some of the issues we have presented before the legislature for amendment, and so far, there is some progress,’’ she said.
The board is also currently working on a partnership relationship with Shelter Afrique, and is also developing an online application portal for all civil servants seeking housing loans in order to make the process less cumbersome and complaint with 21st century procedures.
By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja