I sincerely welcome you all to this Public Hearing. Today’s Public Hearing is very significant because it touches on one vital aspect of our National life and that is housing.
Housing or Shelter is one of the basic needs of human beings. Unfortunately, this basic need is becoming a rare commodity in Nigeria.
It is instructive to remind this audience that during the 2017 Housing Summit organized in Abuja by Housing Circuit Magazine in partnership with other Stakeholders, it was revealed that as at 1991, when the National Housing Policy was enacted, Nigeria had a Housing deficit of seven million units but as at today, the housing deficit had grown alarmingly to seventeen (17) million and continues to grow.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is common knowledge that the Federal Government is the biggest single employer of labour in the Country. It is on record that most public servants cannot secure accommodation in Abuja due to high cost of rents. Majority of Civil Servants live in Nassarawa and Niger States. They commute to work in Abuja everyday from long distances. The effect on productivity is better imagined than experienced.
This Bill has come at a right time to give succor to civil servants opportunity to have access to housing scheme for the purpose for owning a house. Research has shown that as at September 2016, the lowest recorded interest rate on any Mortgage in Nigeria is 19 percent and requires 25 percent down payment. The question is how many civil servants can afford a mortgage under such harsh Conditions? It is our objective that when this Bill becomes Law, most civil servants will have access to a house of their own. I sincerely believe that this Bill will go a long way in bridging the housing deficit and increasing productivity in our public sector.
It is my hope and belief that this great audience will proffer solutions on how to administer the Housing Scheme for Federal Public Officers in order to reduce and or eliminate the overall housing deficit in Nigeria.
On this note, I wish us all happy deliberations and hereby formally declare this Public Hearing open.
God bless you all and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.