The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: Gov't Surveying Land for Red-Light Market, Low Housing Facilities

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has said that her government has identified and is currently surveying 452 acres of land in the Omega Tower community for the development of comprehensive low- to middle-income housing estates. Delivering her Annual Message to the Legislature last Monday, the President said this project is intended to help with the relocation of the Red-light Market and the establishment of facilities by the National Transport Union.

She said the need to invest in a vigorous, low-cost housing project is urgent, adding, '. It is expected that the facility to support mortgage lending will provide access and ownership to additional homeowners."

The Liberia leader pointed out that the survey conducted by the National Housing Authority indicates that it will require more than US$30 million to relocate hundreds of families, owing to the growing demand to ensure that our people live in dignity, free from hazardous conditions.

The President said in addition to this, , private developers have started construction of housing for middle- and high-level income buyers.

Earlier, the President admitted that the country continues to face a deficit in public and private housing, but plans are under way to address this she noted that with support of the African Development Bank, the government is developing a national housing policy framework to guide our efforts in this sector.

She disclosed that group known as "Shelter Afrique" has agreed to sponsor public-private partnerships between the National Housing Authority and private housing developers by financing up to US$9 million, or 60 percent, of each joint venture investment made in several affordable housing estates.

'An investment forum, or road show, will be held by Shelter Afrique in Monrovia early February to promote this initiative,' she said.

President Sirleaf further said a regional specialized housing finance bank has expressed interest in setting up a branch in Liberia. This will complement efforts by the Liberian Bank for Development & Investment to promote mortgage financing for homeowners.

She said, "new construction and renovation of government buildings, particularly the ministerial complex offered by the People's Republic of China, will enable us to reduce the level of rental of private building for public offices."

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