Kuzeeko Tjitemisa Windhoek-The Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN), through public-private partnerships (PPPs), has built 4,960 housing units across the country during the 2017/18 financial year. This was revealed by Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga, when motivating his ministry’s 2018/19 budget of over N$2.1 billion in parliament last week. SDFN is a network of saving groups that was established because of the need for houses. It started in 1987 but transformed into a federation in 1998. Highlighting the ministry’s achievements during the previous financial year, Mushelenga said the highest percentage of these units have been realised through government-sponsored initiatives such as mass housing and the National Housing Enterprise (NHE). Similarly, he said, joint efforts by the central government, local authorities and a section of the private sector (PPPs) have resulted in the delivery of some 4,424 serviced plots during the preceding fiscal year. He said a large percentage of these numbers have been brought about through government-sponsored initiatives such as the Massive Urban Land Servicing Project (MULSP) and other capital projects that have been funded from the Development Budget and implemented by regional councils and local authorities. Mushelenga says the other portion was financed, among others, through external commercial borrowing by local authorities, partnership arrangements between local authorities, private financiers/developers and finding towards land and housing development by the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF). Another achievement, Mushelenga said, is the financial contribution towards improved sanitation in the country in the form of 6,173 proper toilets and ablution facilities linked to new houses that have been constructed through the ministry’s housing development programmes. Also, he said, additional success was the proclamation of 53 new townships across the country, which townships consist of and have yielding plots for various uses. Mushelenga said despite known challenges, including resource constraints and high input costs, the ministry remains steadfast in its resolve to address the backlog in respect of serviced urban land, housing and availability of basic infrastructure to the people, especially the ultra-low income groups. “It is our belief that the responsibility of ensuring affordable and decent housing for our people is not only of the government, but for all of us, including the private sector as employers, property financiers and developers as well as the community itself,” he said. He said in the face of competing demands on the Treasury, the ministry is compelled to be more innovative and identify other complementary sources of funding to supplement State funding. “We will among others look at PPP’s and increase the contribution of the private sector and State institutions towards the realisation of our goal on housing,” he said. He said these include employees to acquire decent accommodation as well as for financial institutions to develop and offer concessional-structured financing to enable the NHE and local authorities to service and provide affordable land and housing.
2018-04-23 09:49:29 4 months ago