Government has set aside N$510 million towards affordable housing and municipal infrastructure in the current financial year.
This is nearly half of the total budget allocation towards the urban and rural development ministry, totalling N$1.6 billion for the 2021/22 financial year.
This year’s allocation represents a 3% reduction from last year’s budget allocation of N$1.7 billion.
Over N$1.1 billion is earmarked for the operational budget, and the development budget is more than N$ 580.1 million.
Motivating the ministry’s budget in the National Assembly this week, urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni said this allocation makes up a large percentage of the development budget, and will go towards funding interventions on urban and regional planning, land servicing and support
to housing development initiatives that are carried out by the ministry, regional councils and local authorities.
“Our interventions on land delivery will largely focus on increasing tenure security and the provision of basic municipal services as well as low-cost housing, especially in informal settlements,” Uutoni noted.
He said this will be done through flexible and incremental approaches such as the Flexible Land Tenure System, as well as pre-allocation of land, which is planned but may still have to be serviced, or is only partially serviced.
As part of the government’s ongoing efforts to scale up the provision of affordable housing, allocations in the amounts of N$5 million and N$10 million have been made for the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) and the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN), respectively.
The major activities to be carried out under this programme are to review the national housing policy; scale up the delivery of much-needed serviced land through a partnership between and with local authorities, public and private sector partners, as well as community initiatives such as the SDFN. The formulation of a national informal settlement upgrading strategy is another activity planned.
The other is to finalise the completion and allocation of commenced-but-uncompleted houses under the mass housing development scheme and support other viable housing delivery, and to scale up community-led total sanitation.
The allocation to this programme during the 2019/2020 financial year, together with the contribution of other development partners and the private sector, ensured that the ministry and local authorities were able to service 2 846 plots and construct 1 179 new houses.
In line with the government’s commitment towards improving the livelihoods of the people residing in rural areas, Uutoni said a budget amount of N$ 78.9 million has been earmarked for rural development initiatives.
The specific interventions to be funded with the allocation are the N$10 million for support to rural sanitation initiatives implemented through regional councils.
About N$8 million is set to support self-help income and employment generating initiatives by rural communities, while N$8 million goes to support appropriate technology development for rural communities through the operational rural development centres.
An amount of N$28 million will finance work at six rural development centres that are under construction, namely at Rupara in Kavango West, Masokotwane in Zambezi, Eembaxu in Ohangwena, Ogongo in Omusati, Snyfontein in //Kharas, and Gibeon in the Hardap region.