By Francis Mukuzunga WINDHOEK Oshakati is set to mushroom following the Development Bank of Namibia’s (DBN’s) extension of a N$30-million loan to the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) for a huge housing project at the town. At a signing ceremony to mark the new partnership between DBN and the NHE in Windhoek yesterday, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, David Nuyoma, said his organization had seen it prudent to take part in the national housing infrastructure as the NHE was in need of partners to come on stream. The NHE had been mandated by Government to develop a total of 7 937 houses for the next five years as a national target under the National Development Programme II but this project had been severely constrained due to the unavailability of serviced land. “The company (NHE) has now geared itself to accelerated delivery on this mandate by acquiring and servicing land itself, which will speed up the construction of housing all over the country,” he said. It is estimated that one in every ten households lives in shacks and other inhuman dwellings in Namibia and the project therefore intends to redress this anomaly by reducing the housing backlog in all major towns. The Oshakati project, Nuyoma said, would kick-start this programme through the development of new low-to-medium income stands in the Ehenje township, east of the town. The N$30-million facility is part of the first phase in which bulk infrastructure such as storm water drainage and water reticulation systems would be installed. The second stage is for the bulk storm drainage infrastructure, while the third phase will see the construction of roads and housing units. Nuyoma revealed that the total cost of the project would be over N$300 million. Benefits to Oshakati town under this programme, he said, would be immense. These include doubling the rates and tax revenue generated by the town council, which currently only has 2 000 rate-paying households. The project is also expected to bring safe sanitation, clean water and regulated electricity supply to about 14 000 people (or .07% of the country’s population) in the town. The project is also expected to involve BEE companies from the same region during the construction phase of the project, thereby creating more job opportunities. Nuyoma also said all laid-down tendering procedures would be followed in awarding contracts to companies interested in taking part in the project. DBN was established through an Act of Parliament in October 2002 to provide viable financial resources to productive sectors of the economy in order to propel the country’s industrial progress. A statement from the bank says it also mobilises finance and technical know-how through international networks and provides investment packaging assistance to launch viable products. Loans are offered to the public and private sectors for enterprise development. Small to medium financing is also provided at relatively low interest rates.