Oshakati – The Namibian government will subsidise its national mass housing project of 185 000 units with up to 60% of the price for low-income earners, President Hifikepunye Pohamba announced on Friday.
“Subsidies for different categories of houses provided by government under this programme range from 60% to 50% of costs of a house,” Pohamba said at a handing over of 65 houses to beneficiaries at Oshakati in north-central Namibia.
“Thousands of our people need houses as a matter of urgency and we are determined to address the housing backlog.”
Early last year Pohamba established a national mass housing committee chaired by him to embark on the programme, which kicked off a year ago.
Details about subsidies for low-income earners have to date not made public.
During the two-year pilot phase which ends in 2015, about 8 500 houses will be constructed. Project implementation is handled by the government’s National Housing Enterprise (NHE).
According to information provided by the NHE, the smallest house of 38,5m² would cost approximately B$200,000.
A 60% government subsidy as announced Friday, would come to N$120 000, leaving a price tag of 80,000 Namibian dollars a beneficiary would have to pay off via a loan scheme with subsidised interest rates.
From 2016 onwards, construction of 10 000 houses was envisaged each year until 2030.
The pilot phase received some criticism from the private sector and in the media as there was no open bidding (tender) process and only black economic empowerment (BEE) companies were given contracts.
Several BEE companies formed joint ventures with foreign companies including from China and South Africa to carry out construction work.
For the next phase, the NHE mulls a more open bidding process and considers the inclusion of alternative construction methods.