By Eseri Watsemwa –
The chairman, Board of directors for Uganda Human Settlements Network Emmanuel Byaruhanga said there should be an increase in production of adequate housing for all income groups from the current 60,000 units to 200,000 to meet the housing need by 2040.
During a stakeholder’s dialogue held recently under the theme; Working together to address Uganda’s housing needs, Byaruhanga said Uganda through Vision 2040 and the National Housing Policy recognises the need for investment in planned human settlements for low and middle income earners that make up the majority of the country’s population.
The Head of Uganda Cooperative Plan Charles Kabuga noted that the projected housing need in urban areas was estimated at 931, 000 units and more than Shs3.5m in rural areas.
To cross this bridge, Uganda Housing Cooperative Union in partnership with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives presented a number of strategies.
First, Byaruhanga said housing programmes should be reviewed and harmonised to ease access to land for housing.
What should be done
In addition, Byaruhanga said government should come in to source cheaper and affordable interest rates since 15 per cent interest rate is not affordable.
He said government should create financial incetives for green mortgages and renewable energy technologies, appropriate building materials and investment in low and middle income houses for home ownership loans.
However, Kabuga said the potential of housing cooperative concept in providing individuals with affordable home ownership remains untapped.
The General Manager, Uganda Housing Cooperative Union Ms Fiona Nshemerirwe said the housing needs of low and middle income groups will greatly improve if these interventions are considered.
Other strategies include
– Undertaking reforms aimed at improving the abilities of local governments to mobilise resources to finance infrastructure and service provision in settlements.
– Promoting research and usage of indigenous materials and appropriate construction technologies which are affordable and readily available.
– Developing a building materials data bank showing available materials, their specifications, cost and tax applicability among others.
– Strengthening the administration, regulatory and institutional framework to ensure certification, registration and control of professional practices.
– Promoting use of innovative construction technologies in respect to energy efficiency, water harvesting and environmental preservation.
– Promoting and encourage small scale enterprises to engage in production and application of researched building materials and technologies.
– Developing the capacities of tertiary and vocational institutions to further their intake and upgrading of their facilities.
– Developing programs that recognise and build capacities of informal practitioners.
– Initiating and implementing incentives that attract retain and ensure even distribution of professionals.
– establishing a network of community based learning centres for capacity building and sustainable development
– Implementing the recommendations of the national slum upgrading strategy and action plan.
– Promoting employer housing for both public and private sectors.
– Reviewing guidelines on standards, construction and management of employer housing.
– Implementing the public servants housing scheme.
– Constructing institutional houses for staff commencing with selected cadres like army, police, teachers and doctors.
– Encouraging vulnerable groups to participate actively in all housing schemes.
– Providing technical assistance and capacity building for housing cooperatives to carry out their mandate in housing development.
– Mobilising resources for cooperative housing development and establishing and maintaining a register of housing cooperatives in the country.
– Continually improving the technologies and materials being used in house construction in rural areas
– Revising and implementing planning, housing and building standards, and preparing, disseminating and distributing prototype plans to local government.
– Real estate development and management through developing and implementing a legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the real estate industry.
– Developing and enforcing guidelines on repair and maintenance of building and related infrastructure.
“This can only be achieved by strengthening housing laws to promote housing development, reviewing existing structures, and ensuring adequate resource allocation for effective housing delivery, among others,” he said.
Source: All Africa