IN a bid to ease the shortage of housing units, the National Housing Corporation (NHC) has secured a credit of 165bn/- from a consortium of nine financial institutions that would enable it put more houses in the market.
At a landmark signing ceremony in Dar es Salaam on Monday, the Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Prof Anna Tibaijuka, described the deal as "the largest loan ever to a real estate developer in Tanzania."
The Director General of NHC, Mr Nehemiah Mchechu, inked the loan agreement with representatives of the consortium, which brings together commercial and development banks, a pension fund and a financial institution.
"Our initial target was to raise about 310bn/-. However, the 165bn/- credit will enable us fulfill some of our projects towards realizing the 15,000 housing units by the year 2015," Mr Mchechu said.
The state-owned real estate developer initiated in 2010 an ambitious plan to put up 15,000 units by 2015, at the rate of 3,000 houses per annum.Estimates put the demand for housing in Tanzania at about three million at present, with the demand growing for an average of 200,000 units a year, according to NHC Board Chair, Eng. Kesogukewele Msita.
Prof Tibaijuka said the target of 15,000 units requires a huge amount of construction finance which also represents a business opportunity to banks and financial institutions."I thus ask other banks and financial institutions to support NHC and other real estate developers as well as individual developers so that the much needed affordable houses can be built," the former UN Habitat Executive Director appealed.
According to Mr Mchechu, the government had towards the end of last year given a green light to the NHC to borrow funds from local and foreign institutions without necessarily seeking approval from the state, as it has hitherto been the case."We are now looking towards implementation of various projects including satellite cites in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha and Dodoma.
"It should, however, be noted that NHC alone would not be able to reduce the shortage single-handedly, private developers also have a role in this objective," Mr Mchechu explained.At present, he said the corporation was looking forward into constructing 216 housing units in Kibada area, which would be sold for between 25m/- and 200m/-.
The Tanzania Bankers Association (TBA) Chairman, Mr Lawrence Mafuru, said since the introduction of mortgage financing in Tanzania, banks have been receiving many applications from customers wishing to buy houses."However, there are few housing units in the market which are also costly for low and middle income earners. Addressing challenges facing the supply side would go a long way in improving the housing sector," Mr Mafuru, also the Managing Director of National Bank of Commerce (NBC), said.
Commercial banks that dished the money include CRDB Bank, National Microfinance Bank (NMB), Eco Bank, Azania Bank as well as Banc ABC and Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA). Tanzania Investment Bank (TIB), a development bank and a pension fund, Local Authorities Pension Fund (LAPF) in addition to Shelter Afrique, a financial institution, are also among the grouping of the lender.