16 November 2009

Botswana: New Housing Scheme Announced

Gaborone — Government has announced a new scheme to make housing and home-ownership affordable, especially for the youth.

President Ian Khama said in his State of the Nation Address on Friday that the government will put in place a new Installment Purchase Scheme to be implemented by the Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) to make rental and purchasing houses cheaper. He said the government will provide high density and multi-residential houses for the youth and bachelor flats for first time home-owners and employees. "Consequently, in all urban and major villages where development and layout plans are prepared, land is identified and zoned for high density residential use where these houses will be constructed," Khama announced.

The President stated that the BHC will be turned into a single authority through which all public housing delivery initiatives will be coordinated. "Consultations are at an advanced stage within government to transform BHC into such an authority. Once the authority is in place, there will be clarity on the roles of the major players, including the private sector, in policy formulation, planning and monitoring of housing delivery," Khama said. He added that land servicing is being implemented in various parts of the country, especially in urban and peri-urban areas.

"These will yield a total of 10,368 plots. In line with the NDP 10 strategic thrust of encouraging private sector growth, government will facilitate the delivery of serviced land and housing through expanded private sector participation". Khama said consultations with the private sector are ongoing to finalise guidelines on how the corporate world can participate in land and housing delivery.

Khama said the Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA) programme continues to be an avenue for low- income households to access finance for home improvement and plots in urban areas. He said that in order to complement the SHHA initiative, the government introduced the Turnkey Development Scheme for beneficiaries to access completed houses. During 2008, the SHHA loan threshold was increased from P20,000 to P45,000 while the Turnkey was set at P60,000.

Khama said the repayment period was increased from 15 to 20 years without interest for those who do not default in loan repayments. Since April 2009, slightly over P15 million has been disbursed to 351 beneficiaries under the SHHA loan. Another P29 million has been given to 489 Turnkey projects.

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