1 September 2016

Tanzania: WHC to Capitalise On the Government Move to Dodoma

Photo: Salaton Njau/The East African
(file photo).

Watumishi Housing Company (WHC) will soon start executing mega project in constructing 500 houses in Dodoma to accommodate public servants on their way to the new capital city.

The WHC Chief Executive Officer, Dr Fred Msemwa, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the government decision to shift its seat to Dodoma is an opportunity for the organisation to capitalise to ensure there are sufficient housing units for public servants.

"We have welcomed the government move and would immediately start constructing 100 units having different sizes to cater for public servants ability to purchase," he said, adding that the prices for the houses will range from 35m/- to 65m/- per unit.

He said the government decision to shift its seat to Dodoma will foster demand and sale of the houses in the region.

He said WHC has 50 hectares of land at Njedengwa investment area in Dodoma that could accommodate 500 units.

The area has all the basic infrastructures including water, roads and electricity. He urged public servants to give priority in purchasing WHC houses because they are sold at affordable prices than building own houses that may be expensive to pursue.

"Building a house using individual resources while renting a house may take long time to be completed, causing the construction costs to double at the end," he added.

A total of 729 housing units were constructed in the first phase in five projects undertaken at Magomeni, Bunju and Kigamboni in Dar es Salaam, while other schemes were implemented in Mwanza and Morogoro regions.

High interest rate is one of the major hindrances for most Tanzanians to access housing loans. According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) quarterly mortgage market report for the first quarter of 2016, interest rates offered by mortgage lenders ranged between 16 to 19 per cent.

The government has, however, expressed its commitment to ensure loan interest rates are lowered in order to enable many Tanzanians to acquire loans. The current housing deficit in Tanzania is estimated at three million housing units with 200,000 units annual demand.

Similarly, high value added tax on houses poses another challenge on affordability of housing to lower income earners.

The BoT report says the government has created a special task force at the Treasury to address the VAT issue and discussions are at an advanced level with the matter set to be tabled in the coming budget.

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