Kampala. The government has decided to take over total ownership of the National Housing and Construction Company to ensure adequate provision of low cost houses to public servants.
The revelation was made by Mr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of State for Housing while presenting a statement on the International Habitat Day in Parliament last week.
“In 1964, National Housing and Construction Company was fully owned but now 51 per cent is owned by Uganda and 49 per cent by Libya….we have taken a decision to acquire 100 per cent of shares,” Mr Baryomunsi said.
He said government intends to recapitalise the Housing Finance Bank to offer low interest loans to public servants to acquire mortgages.
This, Mr Baryomunsi said, would be spearheaded by a Shs30 billion revolving fund.
“One of the challenges we have in the housings sector is lack of long-term credit which is affordable and sustainable,” he said.
“The development of housing has largely been left to the market forces led by the private sector with little participation by government, but on World Habitat Day, government launched a National Housing Policy to provide adequate housing for all,” the minister added.
The policy seeks to increase the provision of adequate housing for all income groups, improve quality of existing housing stock, increase access to affordable housing, improve security of land tenure and improve the development and management of the real estate industry in Uganda.
Every October 1 is marked as World Habitat Day as set by the United Nations, but Uganda held her function on October 3 in Kampala, under the theme; “Adequate Housing for all.”
According to the minister’s statement, Uganda, whose population stands above 35 million people, has only 7.3 million households and a deficit of 2.1 million houses.
“Given the rapid population growth, we project this will get worse in the coming years unless we invest substantially in the area of housing,” Mr Baryomunsi said.
He also asked local council leaders to avail land to government to expedite the construction of ‘desired houses.’
However, Ms Winnie Kiiza, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, criticised thegovernment for allegedly designing inexecutable programmes.
She cited the Naguru-Nakawa estate where ordinary people were allegedly forced off their land only to have it shared among wealthy individuals.
“As we think of rolling out the provision of decent shelter to every Ugandan, can we first look at the Naguru area which has now become a death trap to innocent people,” she said.
Ms Kiiza said the delayed construction of the estates has caused fear among citizens so much that they fail to easily surrender their land to government for development.
“We would even be more than ready to ask our municipalities to provide space but we are scared,” Ms Kiiza said.