Inadequate housing propeling corruption among civil servants, says BPSR
AS Nigerians from all walks of life continue to seek solutions to wide spread corruption in the nation’s polity, the Bureau of Public Service Reforms [BPSR], is of the opinion that corruption especially, in the Federal Civil Service can easily be tackled if the housing needs of workers are met.
BPSR said: ‘’The fear of civil servants retiring without owning a house is a major driver of corruption in the civil service in particular’’.
The Director-General of BPSR, Dr. Joe Abah explained that in recognition of the low income of civil servants, government should give more resources to the Federal government Staff Housing Loans Board to enable them support civil servants to own their homes.
Abah made the plea in his address at the BPSR Lunch Time Reform Seminar on the ‘’Opportunities for Civil Servants to own Homes’ held in Abuja.
Represented by the Director, Reform Coordination of the Bureau, Yamusa Biu, the DG said that the monetization policy of government should equally be amended to provide staff quarters to workers on essential services such as the medical doctors, nurses, ambulances and fire service personnel.
He said: ‘’Additionally, the fact that civil servants contribute to the National Housing Fund but do not enjoy the benefits and do not get their money when they retire from service is a major source of concern, the contributions of civil servants should be treated as savings and refunded to them if they had not benefited from the NHF scheme on retirement’’.
According to him, the bureau instituted the Lunchtime reform seninar series with the primary objective of providing a forum for the active exchange of innovative ideas, knowledge and practice on topical public service-wide issues.
‘’The first edition was on the topic, ‘The new Pension Reforms Act 2014 and its Implication for the Public Service’ while this 5th series has as its topic, ‘Opportunities for Civil Servants to Own Homes’.
In her paper presentation on the topic, the Executive Secretary, Federal government Staff Housing Loans Board, Dr. Hannatu Adamu Fika explained that in pursuit to its mandate, the Board has granted advances to over 20,000 Federal government employees to enable public servants purchase houses and land, build and renovate such houses in Nigeria.
Dr. Fika also stated that the Board has been able to liquidate the mortgage loans given to 1,206 officers since 2005 when the sales of Federal government non- essential houses started.
She stated that despite the achievements so far recorded, the board has numerous challenges, which has prevented the board to fully impact positively on the people.
These she said include, ‘’lack of access to genuine tittles to land, high cost of construction, limited access to mortgage finance, bureaucratic procedures, high cost of land registration, uncoordinated policies and its implementation at the Federal, States and Local government levels which has aided to create hurdles in our collective ability to reduce the housing deficit glaring us in the face’’.
According to her, ‘’For us at the FGSHLB, paucity of funds has been creating a gap between our ability as an institution to meet the needs of the public servants who apply for loan in thousands and are now more determined to own their homes in a legitimate manner’’.
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