Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has said his administration will collaborate with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to deliver decent and affordable housing to workers as part of efforts to enhance their welfare.
Senator Diri stated this when the FMBN management led by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Madu Mamman, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
To this end, the governor granted the bank’s request for the allocation of land to support financing of housing initiatives in the state.
Senator Diri equally directed the Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Barr. Esau Andrew and the Head of Service, Mrs. Biobelemoye Charles-Onyeama, to liaise with the bank to ensure that its ministerial pilot housing projects at Otuoke and Elebele communities in Ogbia Local Government Area were completed.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as stressing the need to attract more federal presence to the state to fast-track its development.
On the issue of the bank’s uniform rates for construction of houses in states, Diri said such rates were not applicable for Bayelsa given its peculiar terrain where cost of construction was higher than anywhere else in the country.
He therefore urged the financial institution to review the rates for Bayelsa to enable workers benefit from the housing scheme.
His words: “l like to assure you that our government will work with your bank to see how we can take the housing policy for our civil servants very seriously in order to improve their welfare.
“On the housing projects that the bank is undertaking in the state, my take is that the cost of constructing a house in Yenagoa is different from the cost of construction in other parts of the country.
“I’m aware that the FMBN has uniform rates in the construction of houses but that does not apply here. So I urge the bank to review its rates as regards our state. If the rates are uniform, certainly you cannot get it done here.”
The governor commended civil servants in the state for keying into the national housing fund scheme, noting that the initiative would facilitate home-ownership for the workers.
In his remarks, the FMBN Managing Director, Mr. Madu Mamman, explained that he was in the state to explore mutually beneficial areas of partnership in order to actualize the vision of expanding home-ownership among workers.
According to him, “FMBN was established for affordable mortgage to drive home-ownership among Nigerians, particularly workers in the low and middle-income brackets of both public and private sectors who contribute 2.5% of their monthly income.”
Mamman noted that Bayelsa civil servants were major contributors to the national housing fund scheme but expressed regret that employees of the eight local government councils were not captured under the policy.
He appealed to the state government to intervene to enable council staff benefit from the programme.
Mamman also said the bank had advanced N591 million home renovation loans to about one thousand civil servants in the state and over the years had refunded the sum of N1.12 billion to retired contributors from the state.