Housing plan a step in the right direction: FNB

11 Sep 2013 06:30
WINDHOEK, 11 SEP (NAMPA) – Government's Mass Housing Development Programme is a step in the right direction, but a couple more steps are required to make it a reality, a top FNB official said on Wednesday.
Namene Kalili, the manager for Research and Competitor Intelligence at the First National Bank of Namibia (FNB), told Nampa on enquiry that a few years ago Government introduced the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (Tipeeg), which was supposed to service 5 000 erven in three years.
“That did not materialise, and the president called it a knee-jerk reaction,” he said in response to an announcement by the Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHD) that Government plans to construct about 9 000 houses in the next 15 months.
The houses will be constructed through the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) at a cost of N.dollars 2,7 billion, aimed at reducing the housing backlog of over 100 000.
“I will be surprised if 100 houses are built by the end of next year under this programme. Currently, it takes three months to get plans approved in Windhoek, then another two months to get a mortgage bond registered, leaving 10 months to build the house - assuming the land has already been serviced. If not serviced, it will take between 24 to 60 months,” he said.
Prospective home owner, Maria Tomas, told this agency on Wednesday that the initiative is certainly a great step if it will indeed consider those with very low incomes, like domestic workers.
“Those houses should be free for every one of us to buy, and not because you know someone in ministry offices or NHE to get the house. I cannot wait to move out of this shack into a well-built house,” said Tomas, who lives in Otjomuise’s 7de Laan informal settlement.
While making the announcement on the Mass Housing Development Programme on Monday, Regional and Local Government Minister, Retired Major-General Charles Namoloh called on all regional and local authorities to fully engage in the programme, so that one day Namibia will be rid of all informal settlements and each Namibian have a decent house.
The programme is an initiative of President Hifikepunye Pohamba, following the adoption of a blueprint on mass housing development approved by Cabinet in July 2013.
The blueprint proposes a differentiated funding model to cater for different economic and social segments of the Namibian population.
The programme also includes a combination of funding sources from Government, the private sector and individual households.
It will further create jobs and stimulate economic growth, and redistribution of land to the needy.
Houses will be build in two phases. The first phase will be implemented during the first two years - 2013/14 and 2014/15 - which constitutes pilot projects targeting urban capital centres in the 14 regions of the country.
Thereafter, the programme will be rolled out to other localities which will run up to the year 2030.
According to Namoloh, some regional and local authorities have already provided his office with the amount of serviced and un-serviced land available for the programme.