28 September 2017

Uganda Must Revise PPDA Act

Kampala — Uganda's Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija has decried the recently amended Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act (PPDA) saying it must be revised because it is doing more harm than good as regards to projects implementation.

"The people who amended this law thought it will improve the doing of government works and fighting corruption. But what we have noted , its creating unnecessary project delays hence increasing project costs three or four times than the original project costs," said Kasaija.

Kasaija was commissioning the construction of the National Social Security Fund's 2,740 units, housing project in Lubowa, Wakiso district.

This is in line with NSSF's continued effort to expand its investment portfolio to give its members more competitive returns on their savings.

The real estate project, which will cost an estimated USD 400 million over a 10-year period, will be developed on the Fund's 565 acres of land along Entebbe Road and will be one of the most up market housing estates in Uganda.

Kasaija urged NSSF to help in improving people's ways of housing by setting up affordable houses. He also refuted rumours that he is about to set an interest rate cap on Banks in order to bring down the cost of borrowing.

"You should help government to get rid of slums by working with slum dwellers to upgrade slum houses into modern houses," said Kasaija.

Richard Byarugaba, NSSF Managing Director said the Lubowa Housing Estate is in response to demand for quality housing for Uganda's middle and first class and as an investment opportunity that will deliver competitive returns on members' savings.

Last Year, NSSF gave a 12.3% return on members' savings, and is set to announce a new interest rate.

Byarugaba said the Fund will make an initial investment for Phase I, after which the project is expected to be self-financing with projection to complete the first phase in one year.

The development will have retail and offices space, school, hospital, leisure and commercial areas, police post, fire stations and places of worship, a central Park and a plantation Garden Park, creating a desirable environment for the residents.

He also noted that once complete, the houses will be sold on the open market to both the Fund members and the general public. However, priority will be given to the members and will be sold at prevailing market rates at the time of completion of the project.

The Board Chairman, Patrick Byabakama Kaberenge said the Fund's real estate strategy going forward will focus on low cost housing, which will target a significant number of NSSF savers.

The planned affordable housing projects include off taker projects in and around Kampala, 5,000 housing units project at Temangalo, Wakiso and a planned estate in Nsimbe land, which the Fund recently redeemed back and acquired in totality.

The Lubowa Housing estate will also address the current challenge of housing deficit in the country which continues to grow by an estimated 300,000 units per annum currently standing at 2 million units according to the National Planning Authority plan of 2015-2020.

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