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City to tackle housing crisis by itself … concerns residents may have to foot the bill

2021-09-09  Maihapa Ndjavera

City to tackle housing crisis by itself … concerns residents may have to foot the bill
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Windhoek mayor Job Amupanda said the city will no longer be relying on what he referred to as “corrupt tenderpreneurs and developers” to deliver land and housing. Instead, the mayor said, the city is investigating new initiatives to solve its housing crisis.

Amupanda on Tuesday told journalists a decision has been taken to establish a 100% city-owned company called Nova Actus Holdings (PTY) Ltd that will encompass subsidiaries to deal with housing and land development in the capital.

“We want to tackle the issue of governance. In areas of land and housing, ideas and programmes are there but the biggest lesson we learned is that things we want to do are already articulated more than five years ago but there is no implementation. As far as land and housing is concerned, we have to deal with issues of bureaucracy,” he stated. According to Amupanda, Nova Actus Holdings will eliminate the contentious issue of middlemen, who are charged with creating more problems than solutions for the country’s housing aspirations.

“We have resolved to do things on our own and this company is one of the first initiatives to stop us from only observing projects for government because they are in Windhoek. We are going to do it on our own. We are not going to take chances as we have been doing,” added the mayor.

Furthermore, Amupanda stated that Nova Actus Holdings has a strategy to resource and capacitate the company as well as to raise capital in the market. This, he said, would enable the municipality to ‘clean’ its books and enable it to acquire financial support for development projects. The city currently has a historic debt of N$700 million and council is negotiating with central government for debt swap or debt write-off.

“Our books are going to be healthy while we are still in negotiations with the government and it is going to be easier for us to engage financial institutions for us to fund our operations,” he clarified. The process of establishing the new company has already started and it is anticipated that over the coming weeks, Nova Actus Holdings (PTY) LTD should be fully registered.

Meanwhile, responding to public criticism that the new company will place an undue burden on Windhoek residents, probably in terms of increased rates and taxes, municipal spokesperson Harold Akwenye said the establishment is still in its infancy.

He noted that financing of the company will still be determined as the council is yet to set out the modalities of the new entity. However, local economist Mally Likukela applauded the announcement as a good move by the council, but he also expressed concern about the new entity’s feasibility and required budget.

Likukela further questioned the capacity and practicality, saying the city should have taken more time to conduct proper research regarding all requirements of establishing Nova Actus Holdings at the right time.

“Earlier, it was stated that the city has budget constraints, and they are now not in a position to secure this company. I am also afraid of market interference that this may cause. The city may have the required skills but the demand for better remuneration will also increase the city’s overall budget,” Likukela stated.

–mndjavera@nepc.com.na


2021-09-09  Maihapa Ndjavera

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