The Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) chief executive officer, Reginald Motswaiso, has allayed public fears of imminent challenges that will plague beneficiaries in the wake of the transfer of Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA) scheme to the government owned parastatal.
Addressing a Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) national conference in Francistown during the week, Motswaiso quashed allegations that his corporation will escalate costs for the SHHA houses beneficiaries describing them as untrue and unfounded.
“The fact of the matter is that BHC will only be engaged as project managers with a responsibility to oversee the construction of the houses per specifications and costs as agreed upon between BHC and government. There is no reason for BHC to escalate costs of the houses as these are predetermined and agreed upon with government,” he said.
SHHA was transferred to BHC in 2010 after the establishment of the Single Housing Agency (SiHA) through a Presidential Directive. The directive also transferred all housing implementation programmes to BHC as a single housing delivery vehicle.
Motswaiso added that every financial year, the corporation will be given a quota of SHHA houses to be constructed in various constituencies and locations as well as the budget of those houses.
He said BHC will engage contractors and suppliers in those localities and then monitor the construction up to the completion phase.
“The administration of the SHHA loans will remain under the district councils to ensure that the administration aspects of such loan management and allocation criteria are retained under existing structures,” he said.
On the challenges faced by the corporation, he said that BHC is faced with shortage of serviced land, escalating costs for construction particularly on projects built on initially unserviced land, lack of government subsidy and poor uptake of housing units, particularly in semi urban areas.
“Other serious challenges that we have include the escalating maintenance costs which have not matched the rental adjustments over the last seven years and the effects of the economic downturn, which is affecting the purchasing power,” he added.
He concluded that BHC is committed to fulfilling its mandate as provided for in the BHC Act.