FG pledges sustainance of new housing scheme for workers

THE Federal Government has pledged to ensure the sustainability of the newly-introduced Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme for Federal civil servants.

Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, gave the commitment in Abuja, when she met with relevant stakeholders of the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme.

She also expressed the willingness to co-opt the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) into the FISH programme, which is a scheme initiated by the Federal Government to provide affordable housing for the federal civil servants at least before they retire from service.

She said that one of the priorities of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was to address the housing deficit and improve the welfare of the federal public servants for effective and efficient service delivery to Nigerians.

Oyo-Ita, spoke against the backdrop of fears being expressed in some quarters that the scheme might not be sustainable.

She allayed the fear of Nigerians and the federal civil servants in particular that FISH –Programme as a housing scheme, would not die–off like other previous housing schemes, insisting that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, was determined in not only making FISH programme work, but also had already put in place machineries that would sustain it.

She said that a comprehensive brochure about the FISH‑programme would soon be made available free of charge to all applicants to create more awareness on the programme and correct the perceptions of the guidelines and criteria involved before one is eligible to own his own house under the scheme.

Besides, she said, her office has in addition put in place stringent measures with adequate internal control mechanisms to address any attempt by some organizations, estate developers or individuals to frustrate the scheme.

She said that it is in line with this that she recently commissioned the “FISH Client Centre”, located at the ground floor of Block E, Federal Secretariat Complex phase 2, Abuja.

The Centre according to her, has equipped staff on ground that would provide applicants with all relevant and necessary information to guide them on which house to apply for and also inform them of the various developers available on the platform of the programme.

The Head of Service urged the stakeholders to continue to partner and support the Federal Government in its resolve to address the housing challenges facing Nigerians and the Federal Civil Servants in particular.

Meanwhile, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita has assured the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) that it will be co-opted into the scheme.

She gave the assurance in her office in Abuja when the top management of the Federal Road Safety Commission led by the Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of FRSC, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi paid her a courtesy call.

She said that FISH –Programme being a sub-set of the Federal Government mass-housing scheme provides an impetus for the upliftment of the welfare of the Federal Civil Servants of which the Federal Road Safety Officials can benefit from it.

Furthermore, she said, the Federal Government recently launched the Strategic Plan 2017-2019 of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation which has four cardinal goals for an Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-Centred (EPIC) Civil Service.

The fourth goal according to her, is to “improve the Welfare and Benefit Packages for Civil Servants”, which among its objectives is to have a Civil Service that has housing support-base built on stakeholder collaboration, polling of resources and access to financing under the FISH Programme.

Speaking earlier, the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi said that the purpose of the visit was to solicit the support of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in the area of provision of affordable housing to officers and men of the Corps under the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme.

He said one of the greatest challenges any public servant would face in his life is retiring from service without having a house of his own, adding that it was in line with this thinking that he led the top management of the Commission to discuss with the Head of Service on how the Commission will be co-opted into the FISH housing scheme.