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Experts Identify Low-Income As Reason Workers Can't Access Housing Mortgage

Housing experts have identified low income as the major reason why civil servants cannot access the housing mortgage funds meant to address the housing needs of workers. Chairman of the 2nd Nigeria Housing Finance Conference, Mr Bassey Ekpenyong, said this at a conference organised by the Nigeria Integrated Social Housing Cooperative Society Limited (NISH), in Abuja The conference which was titled; Innovative Financing of Affordable Housing, was organised to x-ray the housing financing system and examine innovative ways for providing houses that would be adopted and adapted to by Nigerians. Ekpenyong said that the mortgage system had refused to lend itself to the public servants because of the low wages received by the supposed beneficiaries. He noted that the housing sector and its delivery had been one of the most serious problems government has been facing over the years. "In the 80s, government tried to accommodate its staff by building houses, give to their staff, then deduct the money from their salaries, but as years went by, it became obvious the model could not be sustained. "Then monetisation of government houses was introduced yet it didn't solve the problem, the Federal Integrated Staff Housing Scheme (FISH) was introduced but government again cannot solve this problem, he said. NISH managing director, Mr Yemi Adelakun, said that the programme was a private sector initiative driven by passion to complement government's effort to provide affordable housing for Nigerians on a large scale at minimal cost. Adelakun also mentioned lack of access to credit facility as the major challenge hindering off takers from owning houses, stating that housing was a basic human necessity that government must provide for its citizens. The permanent secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Folashade Yemi-Esan, said that the housing needs of Nigeria was enormous and must be addressed. The managing director of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Mr Ahmed Dangiwa, assured NISH of its support to ensure that affordable houses were delivered to Nigerians. Dangiwa, who was represented by FMBN group head, Strategy, Mr Oladapo Fakeye, said that the bank was committed to every effort aimed at addressing the housing deficit in the country.

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