Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal government has commissioned 151 housing units in the first phase of the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) estates in Kuje, to address the housing needs of civil servants.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, disclosed this at the presentation of FISH handbooks, website and commissioning of the FISH estates Kuje 1 & 11 on Thursday in Abuja.
According to her, the programme would assist in solving housing challenges among civil servants.
Oyo-Ita explained that the programme was expected to address the housing needs of those who were unable to own houses due to the prohibitive costs of land acquisition, building or purchase.
“The overall objective of the FISH programme is to improve the quality of life of civil servants and their families which we believe will help foster a multiplier effect on the economy and reduce corrupted in the public service, in line with the Federal government’s anti-corruption drive.
Oyo-Ita explained that FISH Estate Kuje 1 comprises of blocks of flats of 65 units of one, two and three bedrooms, constructed by C2Q Nigeria Ltd while Kuje 11 comprises 86 units of two-bedroom bungalows constructed and financed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.
She said that the off-takers of these estates have been profiled, their loans paid and some of them have already moved in and are living in their houses.
Oyo-Ita disclosed that in the next phase of implementation, FISH estate Kuje 111 comprising of 97 bungalows would be commissioned and FISH Karu comprising of 20 units of bungalows.
The Head of Service said that the beneficiaries of the Karu Estate were already in possession of their keys.
Oyo-Ita called on state governments, housing agencies and experienced developers to join in the programme.
“We need many more developers to enable us cater for over 55,000 civil servants who have subscribed to the program.
“I seize the opportunity to appeal to civil servants to key into the FISH programme through our website, which would be presented today as more houses are being uploaded by our developers,” she said.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office, OHCSF, Didi Walson-Jack, said that the FISH programme was initiated in 2013, but the appointment of the present head of service ensured it’s continuity by adopting and launching the programme as her flagship.
She said that aside the FISH programme, the head of service had approved several other initiatives to improve the well-being and welfare of federal civil servants.
The initiatives, she said, included the exit management programme comprising the present-retirement, and post-retirement service scheme, rewards and recognition system, a baseline survey on persons with disabilities in civil service and development of federal civil service welfare policy, among others.
The Executive Secretary, Federal Government Staff Housing Loan Board (FGSHLB), Mrs Hannatu Fika, said the board provided loans to members of the FISH progammes among others to own their home.
Fika said that the ceremony was a fulfillment of the mandate of the board, adding that the two estates being commissioned were fully funded through the board’s loan scheme.
According to her, not less than 150 core civil servants were beneficiaries of the board’s loan scheme and more were in the process of receiving their keys.
Thirty two civil servants beneficiaries have been given keys to their apartment.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Ernest Paul, expressed their appreciation for making their dreams of becoming home owners a reality.