Botswana Housing Corporation-Ministry plan to lower cost of houses

Mmegi Online :: BHC, ministry plan to lower cost of houses

BHC, ministry plan to lower cost of houses
The Minister of Lands and Housing Nonofo Molefhi has confirmed his ministry and the Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) are working on plans to bring down the price of houses as well as rentals after concerns that they are unaffordable for many Batswana.

However, Molefhi said in a phone interview that for now they are still discussing how new housing projects can be built at lower costs and thereby selling them to Batswana at reasonable prices. He said bringing down the cost of already existing properties is going to be a challenge as they will have to find alternative sources of funding to pay for the loans BHC got to build those houses. "For those already existing houses, we owe banks, we need to pay them back. The question is who will subsidize the shortfall?" Molefhi said.
"We know that the houses are expensive (for Batswana). That is why we are looking for alternative building systems that will make housing affordable. We are investigating the designs of the houses, how we can reduce costs through simpler designs. These are some of the things that we are reviewing to enable us to reduce the costs of building houses," the Minister said.
Molefhi's comment comes after President Ian Khama announced that he has ordered the Minister for Housing to come up with a better proposal for lower housing rentals as well as affordable housing prices which would enable Batswana citizens to acquire or rent Botswana Housing Corporations(BHC)'s houses.
Khama was speaking at a Star Rally in the opposition Botswana National Front's stronghold of Kanye on Sunday. The president told the Kanye BDP star rally, " I expect to receive a proposal in the next few weeks detailing how the BHC will provide Batswana with more affordable houses. What does BHC mean to Batswana, what is their mandate? Their houses are extremely expensive. If they are in the business of housing Batswana, then they must lower their prices as well as their rentals,' Khama said to loud applause from the supporters.
Khama has become the first sitting president to speak against the exorbitant BHC rentals and house prices. A good number of BHC's recently built medium cost houses in Block 7 remain out of the reach of many Batswana due to high prices. Currently low cost houses cost as high as P300, 000 , while medium cost houses in Gaborone are going for P600, 000, making them only affordable to rich non-citizens.
Meawhile, still in Kanye Khama announced that 200 houses were built for the destitute last year, and that a further 200 houses would be built this year. He said government has increased destitute housing scheme from P20,000 to P50,000 and that the loan is interest free, payable over 20 years.
Khama also told the Kanye gathering that his Government is working hard to improve the quality of medical facilities around the country with the introduction of specialist doctors operating in government hospitals. Khama said last year alone P50 million was spent on medical expenses by Batswana in South Africa, adding that the figure should go down by P20 million over the next few years.
Khama also said the government has divided the country into clusters for purposes of distributing medical doctors to the countryside, adding that already 127 medical doctors are working in those clusters.
On the Ipelegeng programme, geared at helping the unemployed by hiring them in labour intensive works, Khama said government is providing jobs to 40, 000 Batswana through the program every month. However the president conceded that the payments are low.

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