Urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni says N$433.6 million is available for local authorities to provide basic municipal services and related infrastructure during this financial year.
Uutoni was speaking during a consultative meeting with stakeholders on the land and housing delivery targets set in the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) II this week in Windhoek.
He said although the budget is very small in comparison to the magnitude of the problem, the ministry is trying to solve the lack of access to water, sewerage, electricity and other basic services in most localities in the country, with a special focus on informal settlements.
“We know this is very small, but with proper targeting, alignments and complementary support from the private financial and construction sectors, we can still achieve more through properly structured win-win partnership arrangements,” he noted.
It is also expected that local authorities will invest or reinvest a portion of their revenue from service charges in capital-related developments.
The minister said the budgetary allocation is part of the plans and commitment by central government, through the ministry, as the lead ministry on urban and housing development.
Uutoni added that with the help of the Attorney General, they are doing everything possible to resolve the disputes that are holding up the completion of the Mass Housing projects in Windhoek, Swakopmund and Opuwo.
Another effort made by the ministry is of the budgetary allocations of N$10 million and N$5 million made to help the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia and the National Housing Enterprise (NHE), respectively, to scale up their land and housing delivery efforts, especially targeting the low-income segment of society.
Another plan announced by Uutoni to address the housing problem is that local authorities who have money in their Build Together Housing Revolving Schemes have been directed to reactivate these schemes, which are meant to provide affordable loans or financial assistance to low-income earners to acquire land and incrementally build their
“On legal and policy reforms, we plan to review the likes of the Mass Housing Development Programme or Housing Development Blueprint as well as the National Housing Policy and Act,” he informed. The ministry will also continue with the Windhoek informal settlement housing upgrading project, a partnership and joint financial investments by the Windhoek Municipality, Khomas Regional Council and NHE, which is targeting 1 600 housing units.