I stumbled upon a headline in one of the National dailies: “All Civil Servants Should Own A Home – Osinbajo”
I was interested in the headline and decided to read through the content.
Vice President Prof Osinbajo, during a presidential level briefing of the reform process of the Federal Civil Service, said “I think that we should really do something that is bold, big and that will really make the difference to addressing some of the issues especially that of accommodation for Nigerian civil servants.”
Although, we can easily attribute this statement to a mere political talk, most likely as the clock of 2023 general election ticks faster, but on a second thought, let us examine the Vice President’s statement carefully.
An average Nigerian civil servant earns between N80,000 and N100,000 per month. The annual rent for a single bedroom flat in a fairly decent location in Abuja is between N500,000 to N1 million.
This means that a civil servant who depends solely on his monthly income will need to save his six or seven months’ salary to afford a decent home for his family.
There is a plethora of bills like tuition fees of kids, water and electricity bills, health bills, transportation and other basic needs and exigencies. It becomes really difficult to meet up with all these and equally save up a fraction of this earning for emergency purposes.
One of the components of the Osinbajo-led Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) is the Mass Housing Programme. In his speech, the Vice President referred to the Mass Housing Programme of the ESP as one of the initiatives that will make provision for civil servants and other low-income earners to own a home and pay as low as 5,000 per month through a mortgage pattern.
Even though I have my reservations about this, due to the failure of the previous administration’s ‘100,000 units Nationwide Workers’ Housing Scheme,’ I think this could see the light of day because N200 billion has been allocated by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the project and foundation for the prototype building has been laid already.
The Mass Housing programme will provide 300,000 units of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom flats, and beneficiaries will pay for a duration of 15 to 25 years.
Personally, I think this is an exceptionally great deal. Let us hope this serves as a rescue plan for the numerous housing challenges faced by Nigerian civil servants and low-income earners.
Just like the Vice President said, it is evident that perhaps, for the first time in a long time, some very serious attention is being paid to all of the various issues the civil service faces.
The effectiveness of any government is largely determined by the efficiency of the civil service.
Their welfare is important, especially for those who earn a low income.