376 Civil Servants Receive Allocation Letters As Fashola Launches First Phase Of Mortgage Scheme
Apr 3, 2008 - Amidst jubilations and songs of praise to the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), 376 serving officers of the Lagos Civil Service on Thursday received letters of allocation to own the various Staff houses which they are currently occupying.
The allocation letters represent the implementation of the first Phase of the State’s N40 billion Mortgage Scheme which was launched by Governor Fashola on October 24, 2007.
The Scheme is being financed by Skye Bank, Access Bank, Oceanic Bank and First Bank which provided the seed loan of N40 billion serve as collateral for beneficiaries who are required to pay back the loan within 25 years at the rate of 10 per cent.
Addressing the capacity crowd of civil servants at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa, Fashola said aside from being the fulfillment of his promises to the people of Lagos , the occasion was a way to showcase to the world the sincerity and commitment of his administration to the provision of affordable houses for Lagosians. He said, although it was starting with 376 civil servants who occupy various Staff Quarters at different locations in the State, other categories of public officers would benefit from subsequent allotments “as the programme is systematically implemented”.
He reiterated the funds were provided by the banks and not government, explaining that the State Government only assisted in negotiating a good interest rate on behalf of beneficiaries and to ensure availability of the funds required on reasonable and concessionary terms.
Lamenting that past efforts at providing accommodation for the masses had often been hijacked by the privileged high and middle class elite, Fashola declared, “In our characteristic methodical and painstaking manner, we studied the problem critically in order to address its root causes rather than the symptoms. We conclude that the problem was not with the pricing of the houses, as the high cost of building materials was there to contend with, but that majority of the low income group could not come up with the full cost of the building at a go unless they had recourse to Bank loan”.
According to him, government had to come up with fresh ideas if it must make homelessness history in the state, “because majority of this low income group have no access to collateral”.
“The fruit of our intellectual labour is this Mortgage Scheme which we have delivered to transform the housing landscape of Lagos State radically and liberate millions of our people from poverty”, he said.
Recalling his assurance during the launch of the scheme last year that his administration would “bring into focus a pragmatic approach that would herald a fundamental change in housing programme in the state, Fashola said the new approach was based on modern financial structure that would enable honest and hardworking Nigerians to own decent and affordable homes without the need for graft and unmanageable loans and self-denial on a criminal scale.
The obviously elated Governor declared, “We are proving again today that we do not make empty promises. Every word we utter is binding on us and we will go the extra mile to ensure its redemption. We are equally not scared to take on daunting challenges and to embrace seemingly difficult solutions if we are convinced it is in the best interest of our people and the route to taking Lagos to the next pedestal of excellence”.
The Governor, who expressed confidence that the scheme would significantly boost the confidence, self-esteem, productivity and integrity of the State’s Civil Service, said although it was starting with the civil servants in the pilot scheme, the initiative was for every gainfully employed person resident in the state to take advantage of to liberate them from shelter-dependency and create the bases for prosperity for their families.
Congratulating the stakeholders and beneficiaries, Fashola expressed the hope that it would propel them to higher productivity in their various places of employment.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr. Shina Elegbede, described the day as the most auspicious in the history of the State Civil Service. He said the scheme would go a long way to reduce fraud and other forms of crime in the service and promised that the civil servants would reciprocate through increased productivity.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Head of Service, Alhaji Yakub Abiodun Balogun, expressed confidence that the scheme, which he described as “a bold step” would go a long way in improving the living standard of the State’s Civil Servants.
Congratulating the beneficiaries, the HOS declared, “I admonish all Public Servants to reciprocate this kind gesture with greater commitment and rededicate themselves to their duties since to whom much is given much is expected”.