By A’isha Biola Raji
Past Heads of Civil Service of the federation have unanimously called for improved and continuous funding of Federal Government Staff Housing Loan Board (FGSHLB).
The past civil service leaders made this call in a documentary in line with the 2014 World Habitat Day with the theme; ‘Voices from Slums’.
In the documentary, former Head of Civil Service, Mr Stephen Oronsaye pointed out the relevance of the board, saying it has played major role, despite the insufficient fund of 10 Billion naira it receives from the federal government yearly. “They are still providing loan facility to civil servants to own their houses,” he said.
He said, “The Board has done very well, in the sense that, if you go back to History, they have maintained appropriate records on those who have benefited and how this people have been paying.”
According to him, for the board to function properly, the Head of Service would have to make a case to higher authority for better funding and perhaps government could also consider contributions of public servants to the National Housing Funds by amending the current laws.
Prof. Oladapo Afolabi in his submission said the board is a laudable initiative if placed the hands of a good Head of service.
He described how the board grew during the tenure of Alhaji Yayale Ahmed. He said, “They grew in leaps and bounds; I have seen them having estates in various parts of the country to the extent that, recently when they were about naming some of the estates after former Heads of Service. They have more estates than the previous heads of service.
Alhaji Aminu Sali, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji and Dr Hannatu Damu Fika all pointed out the need to continue to fund the board as welfare is part of the integral function of Head of service.
Mrs Hannatu mentioned how in 2009, President, Goodluck Jonathan released the sum of N10 billion to the board to enable it address the back lock of applications received as a result of monetization process when houses were sold off to seating Public Civil Servants, leaving a lot of public servants houseless.
Backing her words, Alhaji Bukar said a lot has been done particularly in the last two years of this administration. He said, “You will recall that the President Jonathan approved the sum of N10 billion for disbursement to staff under FGSHLB scheme, and a good number of staff have benefited.”