By ANDREW OJIEZEL
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has cautioned the National Assembly over its plan to scrap the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB) describing it as most unpatriotic.
In a statement, ASCSN National President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, and the Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, lamented that instead of concentrating on making laws that would alleviate the suffering of the citizens, the National assembly was bet on enacting a law to abolish the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board in order to inflict maximum pain on Public Servants.
“The ill-advised Bill which has gone through Second Reading in the Federal House of representatives if allowed to be passed into law will certainly inflict maximum damage, pain, and sorrow on hapless Public Servants who have devoted their entire working lives serving their fatherland,” the Union stated.
It emphasized that Decree № 6 of 1974 now Act that established the Board charged it with four core mandates of providing loan facilities for Public Servants to build a residential house in Nigeria for use of the applicant or his family; purchase a parcel of land in Nigeria in which such residential house is to be built; purchase a residential house in Nigeria for use of the applicant or his family; and for improving or extending a residential house owned by the applicant and to which he has a valid and good title acceptable to the Board.
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“It is on record that the Board has, since its inception, granted loan facilities to about 22,989 Public Officers to buy land, build or purchase houses and renovate same.
The ASCSN posited that the argument by the Federal Lawmakers that the FGSHLB was performing the same function as the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and as such should be scrapped was untenable because while the Board was set up to cater specifically for Public Servants, the FMBN as a premier mortgage institution in Nigeria is to provide long-term credit facilities to mortgage institutions in Nigeria and encourage the emergence and promote the growth of viable primary and secondary mortgage institutions to service the housing delivery in all parts of the country.
According to the ASCSN, it was only the FGSHLB that had given hope to public servants especially core Civil Servants that they would be given loan to build or purchase their own houses while serving their fatherland.
It pointed out that public servants, through their Trade Unions, are well represented in the Board of the FGSHLS and monitor its activities in respect of the discharge of its core mandates whereas they are excluded from the Board of the FMBN and as such unable to ensure that it carried out its statutory obligations to workers.