The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) is in a sick state and urgently needs to be reformed to meet its mandate of providing affordable housing.
Government needs to formulate a new approach to its ambitious Mass Housing Programme and once this is done the mandate to implement the national project would be returned to the NHE, the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa, said yesterday as she introduced the parastatal’s new Board of Directors.
She emphasised that when the Mass Housing Programme is reintroduced its core focus would be affordability.
“There were some units built that were not affordable and this does not make sense. In some cases the government had to apply a 60 percent subsidy to make these houses affordable, but this [level of] subsidisation is not sustainable,” Shaningwa explained.
She noted though that the State would contribute significantly to the cost of land servicing to improve the affordability of land. She added that the income levels of potential beneficiaries must be determined in order for the housing programme to correspond to what beneficiaries can pay.
In July Cabinet revoked the NHE’s mandate to implement the N$45 billion national housing initiative, which has been hailed as the brainchild of former President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
The NHE’s original mandate was to facilitate financing for housing and to generally provide for the housing needs of all Namibians, particularly from the ultra-low, low and middle-income groups.
“I’m urging you to have a centralised list of potential beneficiaries to ensure transparency and fairness in allocating houses to the beneficiaries on a first-come, first-serve principle, as well as to first-time buyers,” Shaningwa added.
While introducing the NHE’s new Board of Directors, Shaningwa said she expects them to turn around the fortunes of the parastatal and to deliver as per the mandate of the company.
To achieve this she tasked the new Board to initiate a business process and re-engineer their strategy to restructure and align the institution with current housing needs and trends.
Shaningwa also instructed the Board to appoint a competent Chief Executive Officer, who would be charged with restructuring all senior managerial positions.
“I’m sorry to say this, but the NHE is in a sick state, hence this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. It should not be business as usual, to ensure that this company is placed in a sound financial position,” Shaningwa said.