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Lagos Assembly To Repeal Law On Housing For Public Servants

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Lagos State House of Assembly has commenced moves to repeal the existing law on housing for the state public servants with a view to address the encumbrances on accommodation challenges.

This formed the reason why the House organized a public hearing on Friday on “A Bill for a law to repeal and re-enact the Lagos State Goverment Staff Housing Board Law and for Connected Purposes.”

In his keynote address, the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon. Mudashiru Obasa who was represented by his Deputy, Hon Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, said for the state public servants to perform effectively, there is need for welfare of the staff in which housing played key role.

He pointed out that there was therefore the need to provide loans that would be affordable in order to assist the public servants in securing accommodation.

While giving the overview of the Bill, the Leader of the House, Hon Sanai Agunbiade said section 2 specifically talks about the objective of the law which is “to administer a housing loan scheme as well as allocate and mange residential staff quarters to the state public officers, in order to ameliorate the impact of housing deficit on public officers in the State.”

Section 18 of the Bill said: “The amount of loans that may be granted to any public servant to purchase land or build a house shall be seven times the public servant’s annual salary or a maximum amount as contained in the Second Schedule to this Law.”

Also speaking the State’s Head of Service, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola, explained that section 3 (g) of the Bill which stipulates a representative of the State Joint Negotiating Council to be appointed by the Head of Service into the Board should not be misconstrued.

He argued that the Council members would have to select among themselves a representative which was to be approved and subsequently appointed as a member of the Board.

While speaking on the ongoing deduction of public servants’ salaries for the National Housing Scheme, the HoS said: “it is not arbitrary decision; it is something we jointly agreed after series of stakeholders’ engagements.”

He added the scheme is a national programme for civil servants to provide housing, saying Lagos civil servants should not be left out of the opportunity.

The President of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), Lagos State chapter, Adele Adewale had faulted the membership of the composition of the Board.

He had argued that the representative of the Joint Negotiating Council to be appointed into the Board should be appointed by members of the Council instead of giving the power to the Head of Service.

The Secretary of Association of Civil Servants in Lagos, Hakeem Kazeem pointed out that the proposed housing loans may not be enough for civil servants to build houses.

He said: “The N300,000 or N400,000 they want to give as loan cannot buy a land in Lagos not to talk of building house. I’m appealing to the government to assist on what can be done.”

A civil servant in the House of Assembly, Mr Kolapo Adeniran had called the attention of the gathering to the monthly deduction of their salaries through the National Housing Scheme.

Chairman, House Committee on Establishment, Training and Pensions, Yinka Ogundimu, told journalists that in line with the tradition of the House, the repealing of any law could come at any given time.

Ogundimu who represents Agege constituency II, said all the contributions provided at the hearing would be thoroughly examined in order to re-enact law that would serve the interest of the public servants in the State.

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