Workers lament difficulty in accessing housing loans
South-South officials have expressed disappointment at the difficulty in accessing housing loans from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).
The workers, in an investigation by The Tide source, said the conditions for obtaining the loans were too strict and had prevented them from accessing them.
They called on the government to find other ways to improve the scheme, including relaxing conditions for workers to access bank loans to build houses.
A Federal Ministry of Information staff member in Cross River, Ms. Enawan Effiom, told the source in Calabar that she had approached FMBN for funds to build a house.
Effiom said she was disappointed to learn she could not access the loan except that she had come with a third party who is expected to be a property developer.
The Level 14 officer said that after doing further research, he was given the phone number of a developer based in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
According to her, she was told that it was her responsibility to bear the cost of the developer’s trips to inspect the site if she ended up getting the loan.
“It’s outrageous because it just means that if I need to say 2m or 3m naira to build a two bedroom apartment, the cost will eventually increase by the time I finish incurring those extra costs. Like many other civil servants, I became discouraged.
“I also tried the federally built ones that workers are supposed to apply for. I gave up on the effort because the requirements only favored the wealthy and very senior officials,” she said.
According to her, the houses are usually built on the outskirts of the state capital.
“Those in this state are located between Calabar and Odukpani.
“Residents had to deal with so many security issues because of the location. cannot go there in this era of insecurity,” she said.
Effiom said it was easier to get a loan from a commercial bank to build a house than to get it from FMBN.
She, however, called on the government to impose less stringent conditions that would encourage workers to access the loan so they can build their own homes.
The National Employment Directorate (NDE) Coordinator in Delta, Mr. Sylvanus Onyeogo, told Asaba that the strict conditions for accessing the FMBN loan remained daunting for civil servants.
Oneogo told the source that he applied for a N5m loan some time ago while serving at Bayelsa, to enable him to carry out a housing project, but it was not feasible. .
“I had land then that I wanted to develop and I needed 5 million naira to raise what I needed to build the type of house I wanted.
“I applied and everything they asked of me, although rigorous, I presented to them, but rather than approving the 5 million naira I requested, they approved 2.5 million naira. million naira.
“It was hard for me and I refused the money. Instead, I sought funds from our cooperative society to carry out my project,” he said.
He said that even if the fund was accessible, the approvals might not meet the subscriber’s needs.
For his part, the Federal Housing Controller in Delta, Mr. Victor Uduokhia, said that the first phase of the federally-built housing estate in Issele-Azagba has been fully subscribed.
He said, however, he was unsure whether or not subscribers obtained their funds directly from FMBN or other sources.
“As we speak, the first phase of low-cost federal government housing in Issele-Azagba has been fully subscribed.
“We are in the second phase at the same site and the work has reached an advanced stage,” Uduokhia said.
In Rivers, one respondent complained about the poor housing program for state employees.
A staff member of the Ministry of State Information, Mr. Kelvin Nengia, said: “Since I joined the civil service in 2008, not much has been done in the area of accommodation for civil servants .
“The last time the government held a lottery for housing in Iriebe, Oyibo Local Government Area was around 2009.
“Since then, the program has not been heard from until recently when they gave loans to some workers in 2021,” he said.
A staff member of the state-owned FM Radio Rivers station, Mr Stanley Job, however, said the state government had given loans to its employees, but not enough to build houses.
Job said about 30 station workers received housing loans in 2021.
According to him, some Rivers State Television officials also got the loans.
“They received about 1 million naira each, which is not enough to build a house. The money can only be used maximally to acquire land,” he added.
Job urged the government to partner with private investors to pilot the housing program in the state.