As one of the measures to bridge the housing deficit nationwide, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has disbursed a total sum of N3.35 billion to 4,342 beneficiaries across the country, comprising federal, States civil servants as well as employees of the organized private sector, under home renovation loans scheme.

According to statistics, the estimated housing deficit in Nigeria is 17 million and it is projected to gulp trillions of Naira, which is had to cough out by the federal government given the numerous competing needs in the face scarce resources.

Undder the fifth batch, FMBN disbursed the sum of N643 million to 740 federal civil servants bringing the total loan given out under the home renovation loans scheme to federal civil servants through the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board to N1.2 billion for 1,347 beneficiaries.

The beneficiaries emerged from Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the federal government.

The Managing Director of FMBN, Ahmed Dangiwa, made these disclosures while making symbolic cheque presentations and disbursements for the fifth batch of beneficiaries of the mortgage scheme to mark the 2017 Africa Civil Service week.

The conditions for accessing the home renovation loans include that the participant must be a contributor to the National Housing Fund, maximum amount is N1,000,000.00, applicants must apply through the the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB), applicant must have at least five years before retiring from the service, monthly repayment rate of 33.33 percent deductible from the beneficiaries salaries, among others.

Dangiwa commended the commitment and cooperation of the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita Ekanem and the Executive Secretary of the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB), Dr. Hannatu Fika for the collaboration and cooperation which is facilitating the scheme.

The FMBN Managing Director said: “This cooperation is a clear demonstration by the Head of Service of her concern for the welfare of workers through partnerships and collaborations that will address the housing needs of civil servants.

“This is also in line with one of the cardinal agenda of the current administration, which is provision of housing. It is common knowledge that housing (shelter) remains one of the three basic necessities of human beings.”

One of the functions of the FMBN is management of National Housing Fund established in 1992 to address constraints to mobilisation of long term funds for housing finance for every Nigeria to have access to housing loans through participation and contributions to the National Housing Funds.

Section 14 (2) of the National Housing Fund of 1992 stipulates that contributors to the fund can access loans for the purpose of purchase, building or renovating existing homes and houses.

To achieve this, the FMBN developed concessionary loans under the home renovation loans scheme to enable Nigerians access mortgages for home ownership, which is being hampered by inadequate funding, low income of prospective borrowers, cumbersome processes of acquiring lands, among others.

In her remarks, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita Ekanem, said that since the Federal Government does not have enough resources to provide houses for every civil servant, it has come up with alternatives such as the home renovation loans scheme.

She said the process of approving and granting the loans by the FMBN and FGSHLB has been transparent and urged the beneficiaries to commit the loans to the purpose for which it was obtained.