Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Burundi, Elijah Onyeagba, has charged the Federal Government to provide subsidies for home ownership to address the country’s housing deficit.

In a chat with The PUNCH, he urged the government to focus more on the provision of affordable houses for low-income earners in the country.

He said, “There are ways and means to deal with this issue. First, I would say housing is very important for every economy and I believe that the government has got a role to play.

“They are expected to provide subsidies for housing which can start by way of making lands available or providing infrastructure. You do not just provide land because land without infrastructure is bush. The government needs to take the leading role in ensuring that land is available because under the Land Use Act only governors own land and have the right to assign it.”

Speaking further, Onyeagba said partnerships with local construction companies will alleviate some of the challenges facing the housing sector.

“In addition to that, they also need to create infrastructure. If you look at housing projects, the value of infrastructure and land is about 40 to 60 per cent of the cost of the house itself.

“Companies that are into building materials manufacturing such as doors, tiles and household equipment, they need the government to guarantee them that once they produce products required for construction that there are ready-made companies ready to take advantage of those products to be able to help the supply chain because it is important that we do not build houses and go to China to get doors or turkey to get the tiles we need.”

He explained that it was important that the government set up a mortgage system that makes it available for whoever can afford it.

“A lot of players in housing are dealing in the upper market whereas the demand is in the mid and low end of the market,” he added.