Worried by the over dependence on rental accommodation by staff in the public service in Rivers State, where substantial percentage of their income is expended, a property developer in Port Harcourt, Christian Ogbonna, has urged the Rivers State government to create the enabling environment that will enable workers in the public sector of the state, particularly the civil servants to own homes.
Speaking to The Tide on the housing ratio of public servants in the state, Mr. Ogbonna who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nnam Ndu Properties; a property development outfit, said that much has not been done in the area of staff housing in the public sector, particularly in the area of owner occupier housing.
He said that over the years, most civil servants in Rivers State remain tenants till they retire, and that the trend seems to be continuous without tangible solution.
According to him, the issue of property development is basically driven by adequate mortgage, pointing out that resources for mortgage are not readily available in the state.
Ogbonna also explained that it will take the commitment of government to mobilise resources to bridge the gap in providing adequate mortgage for continuous development on housing that can enable public officers own their own homes, and free them from unnecessary exploitations of landlords.
The developer gave instances of the step taken by the federal government through the housing authority in selling houses at the Festac Town in Lagos and other estates to public officers of the federal government on the owner occupier basis recently.
He said, that has gone a long way in enabling workers live in their own apartments, and that such will give them the minimal comfort they need to carry on in life.
Mr Ogbonna therefore urged the state government to make it a matter of policy, to develop certain number of housing units annually for workers, and make it available to them on a specified mortgage arrangement, that can be deducted from their salaries.