Govt requested to emulate Kenya’s housing scheme

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Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-Kenya’s experience in terms of a regulatory framework in the country’s quest for the provision of affordable housing is something worth emulating.

This was one of the view’s expressed by members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources and Community Development that undertook a five-day benchmarking visit to Kenya mid-last year.

The delegation consisted of Swapo member of parliament (MP) Norah Munsu, United People’s Movement (UPM) MP Johannes van Wyk, National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) MP Meundju Jahanika and Swapo parliamentarian Lusia Nghaamwa.

In their draft report submitted to the National Assembly last week, the MPs said that from evidence gathered during the visit it was clear there is a great need for Namibia’s housing sector to put coordination and collaborative mechanisms in place that will warrant affordable housing in the country.

MPs said they noted the great stride the Kenyan government has made so far in terms of creating an enabling environment for institutions dealing with the provision of affordable housing for Kenyans.

Housing prices in Namibia have for the past few years continued to rise while sales declined. A median house price in Windhoek now is N$1.2 million while the median price for Okahandja is N$790,000 and Gobabis is N$780,000.

Fourth quarter statistics for 2015 indicate housing sales declined by 15 percent, while house prices rose by 21 percent quarter on quarter. The growth in house prices continues to be a factor of declining sales across the country. The median (middle point) of house prices for 2015 was recorded at N$800,000.

Furthermore, the lawmakers urged the government to consider establishing a rent restriction tribunal, similar to that in Kenya, to address and regulate rentals.

According to the MPs, in order for the government to ensure the construction industry is properly regulated a database of qualified contractors should be compiled.

The report also recommends that research be conducted on local materials for construction purposes and that a council to regulate construction companies across the country be established.

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