The Federal Government has been urged to overhaul the country’s mortgage system to make it easier for Nigerians to own homes. The Managing Director, Opinior Engineering Company Limited, Mr. Muftau Salawu, said this in Abuja during the handing over of keys of two and three-bedroom apartments to officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps. He advised the Federal Government to put in place measures that would help to drive demand for houses built under the Public- Private Partnership arrangement.

Salawu pointed out that except this was done, the objective of the Government to reduce the housing deficit in the country would be defeated. The 300- unit open freedom estate, according to him was built to decongest the city center and open up economic activities at the satellite towns. He explained that under the Public-Private Partnership housing arrangement, the Federal Government provided the land, while developers from the private sector sourced for the funds for the construction of estates.

Salawu said with the country having about 20million units of housing deficit, there was a need for the Government to urgently address some of the housing sector. He said the constraints created by equity contribution requirements by mortgage finance institutions had left the housing industry less attractive to investors.

According to him, if some of these issues can be addressed it will assist in providing more houses for Nigerians and create jobs across the entire housing value chain. Salawu stated, ‘’Open Freedom Estate has over 200 units of three and two bedroom bungalows at various levels of completion and units are occupied.

While we rejoice with you on this achievement we also want to use this medium to plead with the Federal Government through the Federal Government Staff Housing Loan Boards to assist other civil servants and Para- militaries that are dying to own houses of theirs by making the process more accessible for those who want to own houses.

‘‘The Federal Government can help us the developers by buying- off these houses and give them out to civil servants on mortgage and relief us from depth, which has put us in the state of bankruptcy. ‘’He said the idea behind the project was not for profit, but to provide affordable houses to Nigerians within the nation’s capital.

We hope that the Federal Government and relevant agencies will rescue us from this situation because we have over ₦1bn tied down for four years. It is very sad and not encouraging at all, but we have confidence in the system that things will get better,’’ Salawa added.

Ifeanyi Onuba reporting from Abuja for punch newspaper.