Wednesday, January 27, 2021

New housing scheme for bottom middle class

Parliament learnt on Friday that the not-rich-and-not-poor Batswana will soon have their own version of SHHA.

In response to a parliamentary question, Lands and Housing Minister, Nonofo Molefi, told the house that through the Botswana Housing Corporation, his ministry was in the process of introducing a housing scheme to be known as the Installment Purchase Scheme.

“The target group for the scheme will be the low-income upper as well as middle-income lower groups whose incomes range between P3000 ÔÇô P7000 per month. This is a category of home seekers who are above the threshold of the SHHA scheme and are below the existing target of the Botswana Housing Corporation and have difficulties securing loans to either build or buy houses,” Molefi said.

Shortage of housing is a recurring theme during parliamentary debates and on Friday, Gaborone South MP, Akanyang Magama, asked what the government was doing to address the housing needs of middle-income groups who do not qualify for schemes, such as the Self Help Housing Agency and are also unable to secure loans from financial institutions to either build or buy houses on the market. The SHHA scheme is for those in the low-income bracket who earn less than P3000 per month.

The minister did not indicate when the new scheme would be implemented but he revealed that the proposals have been submitted to cabinet. The proposals are being reviewed to ensure compliance to equity and access recommended by cabinet.

“Paramount is the sustainability of the scheme to ensure growth and scheme expansion. To this end, financing models for the support of the scheme are being explored within the BHC finances and partnerships with banking institutions,” Molefi said.

In its 2009 general election manifest, Magama’s party, the Botswana National Front, pledges that upon being elected to form a government, it would embark on an accelerated housing construction programme involving the state, local authorities, parastatal organisations, cooperative societies as well as private sector companies. The party pledges to revise the Rent Control Act and extend its cover to residential property.

Says the manifesto: “BNF government shall promote citizen ownership of houses and, in this regard, purchasing of houses by installment shall be promoted. The long standing policy of the BNF that rentals shall be treated as installment towards purchase of the house shall be implemented.”

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