FISH: FG to Address Exorbitant Cost of Houses for Workers

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The federal government has said that it is returning to the drawing board to address some of the challenges that have been bedevilling the implementation of the Federal Integrated Staff Housing Scheme (FISH).

The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

She said that the government had realised that the cost of houses in the FISH programme originally planned to go through developers was too exorbitant for civil servants hence the need to return to the drawing board.

Oyo-Ita said that the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) was currently partnering relevant Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to reduce cost of infrastructure and land.

She added that this partnership would further reduce the cost of the houses and make it affordable for civil servants, instead of the initial price placed on it by the developers.

She said that the major challenge FISH was encountering was that the concept of the programme was not captured by relevant MDAs in their various budgets, but has been addressed in the 2018 budget.

“Now we have to go back to the drawing board, we are now working with our infrastructure housing MDAs.

“To see how we can bring down the prices to a level that civil servants can actually take advantage of.

“The private developers will no longer have to bear the cost of the land and infrastructure because these are two things that cause high cost of houses.

“We will now take advantage of the developers’ input by way of skills and technical knowhow, while the government agencies provide the land and infrastructure,’’ she said.

The head of service expressed her gratitude to the FCT Minister, Alhaji Mohammad Bello, and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, for providing a district for the FISH programme.

She also thanked Fashola for providing infrastructure for FISH in the 2018 budget and the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, for their contributions towards the programme.(NAN)