Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoS), has restated the commitment of the Federal Government to address the housing challenges of civil servants.
She made the statement on Friday in Abuja when a delegation from the Chinese-Africa Development Fund visited her.
It may be recalled that on Aug 1, Oyo-Ita performed the ground-breaking ceremony of 1, 000 housing units under the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme at Tafyi district, Abuja.
The FISH programme was initiated by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in collaboration with the American Building System International (ABSI).
On completion, one bedroom flat is expected to be sold for N7 million while two and three bedroom flats would be sold for N9 million and N12 million respectively.
The FISH programme Oyo-ita said, was initiated by government to address the housing needs of civil servants since the Federal Government Housing Loans Board could no longer shoulder the responsibility due to paucity of funds.
She added that the programme was a public-private partnership between her office and private developers.
The Head of Service said that the Federal Mortgage Bank had indicated interest in the programme.
She noted that though provision of accommodation was important in human life, funding had been its major challenge.
She described the visit of the Chinese-Africa Development Fund as `very fruitful,’ adding that it would help fast track the FISH programme.
The HoS said that various foreign investors were already showing interest in Nigeria.
She said that with 87, 000 federal civil servants, Nigeria had the potential market in terms of population, capacity, human and mineral resources.
She told the delegation that Chinese companies were already operating in Nigeria’s rail sector and other sectors of the economy.
“We have about 87, 000 Federal civil servants, so you can be assured that you have a significant amount of people who will be undertakers to any housing programme you come up with’’.
She assured the delegation that their investment was secured in the country because they were dealing directly with the government.
She said that what the Federal Government needed most was infrastructural development and soft loans for civil servants on a single digit basis since accessing loan from commercial banks was becoming more expensive.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr Chi Jianxin, Chairman Chinese-Africa Development Fund and head of the delegation, said the visit was to discuss ways of solving the housing deficit in Nigeria.
He said that Chinese-Africa Development Fund was poised to reduce the cost of housing to make it more affordable to Nigerian civil servants.
“We will like to reduce the cost of owning houses by introducing more Chinese entrepreneurs to come and invest in construction materials’’ he said.
China-Africa Development Fund is a private equity and venture capital investment arm of China Development Bank specialising in expansion stage, mature stage and buyout investments.
It also invests in stocks, convertible bonds and other quasi-equity type investments.
The firm also invests in agriculture and manufacturing industry sectors.