By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Hope by civil servants in Akwa Ibom to own a house before retirement has been strengthened as the state government through office of the Head of Civil Service is collaborating with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to provide credit facilities to workers.
The facilities meant to enable them invest in real property, is part of avowed commitment of Governor Udom Emmanuel administration to the enhancement of workers welfare.
This is in addition to the Affordable Housing Schemes which substantial units of houses about to be allocated to workers at two locations, Ikot Ntuen Nsit, opposite the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, and Ikpedip Ibiono/Itak Ikono, along Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road.
The Head of Civil Service, Elder Effiong Essien, who stated this while fielding questions from reporters in his Office in Uyo on Wednesday, explained that contrary to report in a local tabloid alleging government of not sensitive to the plights of workers in the state.
It reported that workers are being “frustrated” and “barred” from accessing the housing loan but Elder Essien said his Office is rather facilitating by authenticating and ascertaining applicants’ debt profile to other financial institutions and goverment to guarantee a hitch free repayment to ensure that the loan meant for workers are not diverted .
He explained that at present, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), is giving House Refurbishing Loan which is packaged exclusively for all categories of workers across Nigeria who are contributors to the Federal Housing Scheme.
The Head of Service said that the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies are compiling list of applicants for approval by his office, even as workers in the state had already benefited from the first and second batch of the loan while the third batch is being processed.
Elder Essien thanked the State Governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, for his genuine concern for workers by always providing and keying into workers friendly packages for his workforce.
He encouraged workers to take advantage of the facilities offered by the FMBN to further tackle their housing needs.
The Head of Civil Service, wondered why political colouration should be given such a well intended scheme of government which over the years , has remained an integral part of Government housing policy, embraced by successive Governments and endorsed by the organized labour at both National and State levels.
He reasoned that such a misleading report was capable of discouraging qualified applicants from taking advantage of the facility. He called for a culture of balance reportage from Journalists at all times.
In a related development, the State Controller of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Ifiok Umoren, has lauded the efforts of the State Head of Civil Service, Elder Effiong Essien at re-strengthening the documentation process to ensure a hitch free disbursement and repayment of the loan facility.
The State Controller said the timely handling of the loan process by the various goverment offices has really eased the burden usually associated with loan disbursement and repayment process. He assured that Akwa Ibom workers will continue to take advantage of their investment in the Federal Housing Scheme