Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Thursday challenged the new Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources, Joao Machatine, to find solutions to the housing crisis facing many young Mozambicans.
Machatine, appointed by Nyusi on Tuesday, replaces Carlos Bonete. Previously Machatine was General Director of the country's relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC). But he is not new to the Ministry, since in 2015 he was Deputy Minister of Public Works.
Swearing Machatine into office, Nyusi said "one of the critical areas that should be stressed is housing. We want solutions and less rhetoric for the strategic challenges we find in this sector".
The growth of the Mozambican population is putting the State under great pressure, he admitted, since it has the responsibility to ensure decent housing for the entire population, and particularly for young citizens. Mechanisms were required for building good quality housing at accessible prices.
A further government priority is to guarantee clean drinking water to the public. Machatine, the President said, already has experience in this area from his work at the INGC, and is aware of the real water situation in the country. He is thus in a position to seek "the most appropriate and sustainable solutions".
Climate change poses a threat to water supply. Nyusi said a major task for Machatine's Ministry is "to create more resilient systems and infrastructures to hold and store water, so that the public is not deprived of this crucial liquid".
Speaking to reporters after taking office, Machatine recognised that housing is a long standing problem, but one that could not be solved exclusively by the Ministry of Public Works. Important factors included access to land for building, and the industries which should produce building materials at reasonable prices.
Financing mechanisms were also crucial, to ensure that people who need housing can pay for it, and Machatine announced his intention to boost the government's Housing Promotion Fund (FFH).