Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

24 February 2013

Ethiopia: Civil Servants to Register At Work for Housing

Civil servants will be able to register for the low income housing scheme, known as 10/90; and the earlier condominium housing scheme, known as 20/80, at their workplace, Fortune has learnt.

The plan is to accommodate government employees interested in registering for the government provided housing schemes, without disrupting their time spent at work, according to an official at the Ministry of Urban Development & Construction (MOUDC), who wanted to remain anonymous.

"This is especially relevant for  employees at hospitals, utility companies, who cannot easily cut back on work, but have an interest in registering for the housing schemes," Mesfin Mengistu, general manager of the Housing Administration & Development Agency said.

In addition to the condominium housing project commenced by the government in 2004, two additional housing schemes, the 10/90 and 40/60 housing projects for low and middle income urbanites, were unveiled in July 2011.

These schemes, named after the savings-to-loan ratio that potential homebuyers need in order to get the houses, were aimed at addressing the housing gap in urban areas, estimated to have reached up to one million.

The 40/60 housing project, in particular, garnered a lot of interest in Addis Abeba, where the pilot project for both schemes is set to start. In October, after news got around that registration had begun, thousands of people lined up at their wereda offices to register.

The MOUDC, who took this as an indication that people were not as aware of the 10/90 scheme, postponed registration indefinitely and announced that registration for both schemes, along with condominium housing, would commence simultaneously at a later date.

The Commerical Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) is charged with handling registration for the middle income scheme. City and town administrations will take the responsibility for registering people interested in the 10-90 scheme, it was announced.

In addition, the MOUDC has set plans to reregister previous entrants into the condominium scheme this year, since previous entries have expired. This, along with new condominium registrations, is also set to be overseen by city and town administrations.

In Addis Abeba, all 116 weredas were already equipped with forms and software for registration, back in January. The network system was upgraded to handle 2GB data, up from 510MB. The MOUDC also commissioned the Information & Network Security Agency (INSA) to develop software that could prevent homeowners from registering, or keep others from registering for more than one housing scheme.

Having completed such preparations, officials at the Housing Administration & Development Agency stated that they have been waiting on orders from the city administration to kick start registration since January 2013.

After preparations were complete, the MOUDC came up with the idea of registering civil servants within the workplace.

Registration can be handled by the human resource administration already available in government institutions, after they are given orientation, according to a source from the MOUDC who is close to the issue.

The data gathered at the institutions will then be transferred to a special registration station, which will be launched specifically for that purpose, according to Mesfin. This data will then also be run through the software developed by INSA, he added.

Countrywide, there are 876,306 public servants and 297,994 employees of state enterprises. In Addis Abeba, the total number in the workforce is 1.2 million, out of which 156,428 are public enterprise employees and 107,681 are public servants.

In Addis Abeba, 35,000 houses will be made available for the low income housing scheme. The income cut-off point to qualify for low-income registration is currently set at 1,000 Br, although this may change in the future.

There are around 430,000 people already registered for condominium housing, out of which only around 80,000 have, thus far, been handed over keys. The MOUDC estimates that 30pc of those registered will not show up to claim their houses when called, due to a variety of reasons.

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