Saturday, May 30, 2020

BHC aims to get housing to be more affordable

The Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC), the national housing agency, is to engage other service providers with the aim of cheapening down the cost of rental and purchase of property in the country.

The corporation will engage Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) to agree on cost sharing formula for infrastructural development rather than being passed on to the customers.

Speaking at the unveiling of BHC housing unit in Serowe last week, however, the Minister of Lands and Housing Nonofo Molefhi blamed the high fees charged by the corporation was a result of the inconsistency between the tripartite parastatals, which would soon be ironed-out in the light of the impending negotiations.

“Bagaetsho, I am aware of the concerns by some people that BHC houses are unaffordable in relation to their potential tenants and purchasers’ incomes. This could be true to a certain extent but we must, however, note that the corporation faces several challenges in its endeavours to meet its mandates, which include high cost of construction inputs as well as the cost of development, particularly where there are no infrastructural services,” argued Molefhi.

He said government is aware of these challenges and “we are working on some strategic interventions to mitigate them”.

“For instance, BHC currently carries the cost of providing for services such as water and power into their housing units during construction to allow for reticulation of such services while the respective utilities providers only get involved at the stage of connection, Molefhi said, adding that “my ministry has therefore taken the initiative to engage these service providers with a view to consider some cost sharing formula”.

Government is also planning to come up with a raft of other measures, such as providing serviced land and giving the corporation some break in paying out dividends to the sole owner.

BHC is a quasi-government organisation, which is 100 percent financially backed by government.
In an effort to enable the BHC to provide more housing units, the government has since resolved to waive the requirement, temporarily, though for three years, for BHC to pay dividends in cash whenever the corporation makes surplus.

“The corporation will instead be required to provide the dividend in the form of housing units equivalent to the dividend amount,” he revealed.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.