Employers should facilitate access of housing for workers:NPC

21 Sep 2013 08:00
WINDHOEK, 21 SEP (NAMPA) – The National Development Advisor (NDA) in the National Planning Commission (NPC), Sylvester Mbangu has requested employers to facilitate access to houses for their employees.
Speaking during the 7th annual Retirement Fund Conference organised by the Retirement Funds Institute of Namibia (RFIN) here on Thursday, Mbangu said the provision of housing for employees will add dignity to themselves and will increase productivity.
He said the government has to review its allocation to housing and public programmes for the delivery of housing to ensure accountability and value for money, but also to shift emphasis to low-income groups.
“Subsidies for low-income groups for housing should be well-focused and targeted, otherwise they are diverted to operational expenses of the housing programmes, therefore limiting the quantity of houses supplied,” said the NDA official.
Although initiatives are already in place to fast-track the delivery of serviced land in urban areas, there is still a high need to increase resource allocation, he noted.
“Local authorities should come up with innovative ways to deliver land for low-income groups,” he suggested.
Mbangu said there is a need, in addition to ownership as a method for housing delivery, to encourage other methods which did not receive much attention, such as renting, renting with the option to buy, and high-density housing.
Private sector financing should be made attractive for financing low-income housing too, he said.
According to him, despite the establishment of the Habitat Research Centre in the capital, the research and knowledge from that institution has not yet been embraced by the suppliers of housing in the country.
The Habitat centre is responsible for amongst others promoting housing which is appropriate and affordable to Namibia; researching local housing conditions, training needs, sanitation, energy, building materials and construction techniques.
Mbangu further said although policy frameworks for housing delivery in Namibia are in existence and adequate, the delivery is not at par with the intentions and resources allocated.
He thus called for more resources to be mobilised from all role players in the sector, and for other methods of housing delivery to be sought.
“There is lack of use of innovate ways to address the needs and specificities of low-income groups, but yet still be able to give decent housing to these groups with required amenities,” said Mbangu.
He said another huge challenge as far as housing delivery is concerned is finance.
Firstly, the target is on high-income earners and not so much on low-income groups.
Even in the case where financing might be available, lack of information hinders access to such finances by low-income groups, he said.
Mbangu’s remarks follows a recent announcement by the Regional and Local Government Minister, Retired Major-General Charles Namoloh of a Mass Housing Development Programme to commence soon to rid Namibia of all informal settlements and for each Namibian to have a decent house.
Through the programme, Government plans to construct about 9 000 houses in the next 15 months through the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) at a cost of N.dollars 2,7 billion.