By Mathias Haufiku
WINDHOEK – The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) is concerned about the merger of the Build Together scheme with the mass housing development programme as it fears low-income groups will not afford the houses.
The Build Together programme focuses on people with an income under N$3 000 per month while the National Housing Enterprise only serves those with an income of N$5 000 and above.
“In the current configuration, the poor will not afford those houses. To that end, CC [SPYL Central Committee] has decided that Build Together must remain and not be swallowed up by the mass housing programme,” said the youth wing spokesman Job Amupanda on Monday during a press conference held at the ruling party’s headquarters.
He said the houses under the mass housing scheme, which will most certainly cost over N$200 000 per unit, will be out of reach for the poor.
The blueprint indicates that the cost to build one house is N$280 000.
“Why not leave Build Together on its own so that poor people can at least afford to have a house?” questioned Amupanda.
Government has however indicated that it will subsidise low-cost social houses for low-income earners, while houses for middle to upper income earners will be funded through other financial sources under the same programme.
It is however not yet clear how the subsidy will be implemented.
In fact, a high level government delegation, consisting of officials from the Ministry of Finance, and Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Developments met in Swakopmund recently to work out an exact formula for subsidising houses – especially for former Build Together beneficiaries.
Some local authorities are also not happy with government’s decision to merge the two programmes. Sources within the local authorities have revealed that the unhappiness stems from the fact that local authorities were placed in charge of the Build Together budgets, which were allocated at their discretion, while the mass housing project is administered by the National Housing Enterprise.
Questions were also raised as to how the two waiting lists of the two programmes will be applied when it comes to the allocation of houses.
A 2011 Housing Study conducted by the Bank of Namibia shows that more than 73 percent of Namibians do not have access to credit facilities offered by financing institutions, and as a result they cannot buy land or a house."