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‘Access to affordable housing can curb corruption’

Corrupt practices and inefficiencies in handling government transactions can be greatly reduced by facilitating easy access to affordable housing by workers in the public service.

Executive Secretary, Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board, Dr Hannatu Fika, made the observation during a courtesy visit to the Managing Director of Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), Mr Sonnie Ayere, in Abuja.

NMRC was launched in January this year by President Goodluck Jonathan to boost mortgage financing in Nigeria for housing delivery and home ownership schemes as well as reduce all impediments to a sustainable and dynamic housing market.

Fika also noted that without proper motivation of public servants to drive the policies and programmes of government, private sector organisations will also be incapacitated. She said her board is committed to delivering 1,000 housing units out of the government’s targeted 10,000 units this year for public servants if given the opportunity.

She said the template of the board is risk free and the repayment option is made easy for the off takers and the mortgagers. “The new mortgage refinance will serve as a vehicle to actualise the dream of transformation agenda as it affects the housing sector especially for public servants,” she stressed.

In his response, Ayere described the visit by the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board was timely, especially with the renewed vigour for effective housing delivery by government. He however expressed reservation on the current three percent interest rate charged by the board, saying it is not market driven.

Ayere counseled that with the high demand for housing loans by public servants from the board, it will be better to look at an option that is market driven, achievable and sustainable. He called for the board to partner with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and tap into the savings of public servants through the National Housing Funds (NHF) and enjoy a weighted single-digit interest rate which will make sufficient funds available for workers.


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