PNG Government To Build Housing For Public Servants

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

First 5,000 home to be constructed; 35,000 more planned

By Beatrice Bonakoya

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 16, 2015) – The construction of the 40,000 houses, to benefit mostly public servants under the National Housing Corporation’s social housing development programme, is finally happening. Five companies have been contracted to build the first 5000 houses at Duran Farm, National Research Institute and Gerehu Stage 7A in Port Moresby.

Housing and Urbanisation Minister Paul Isikel said public servants would be "the main beneficiary while Papua New Guineans in other sectors would also benefit from the programme".

"Proper planning and delivery mechanism through stakeholders and development partners were some of the factors which had led to the delay in implementing the programme announced three years ago," he said.

Cabinet had on Oct 27 directed Eda Ranu Ltd (water and sewerage), PNG Power (electricity), Telikom PNG (telecommunications) and the National Capital District Commission (roads) to provide services at the housing sites.

Cabinet approved that PNG Customs and PNG Ports waiver import levy, storage and handling fees on all building material imported by NHC, or its partners, for the project.

"Government has embarked on 40,000 houses. To achieve that, we needed to work on a grid-to-grid basis," he said. The first 5000 to be constructed "is going to be one grid".

Cabinet also approved that the land and housing pricing package threshold to be between K250,000 [US$82,000] and K450,000 [US$147,000] for the buyer under the K200 million [US$65.4 million] mortgage facility with Bank South Pacific. "Money seems to be a problem when it comes to buying houses so we’ve measured the kind of money that ordinary Papua New Guineans are earning against the houses built," Isikel said.

The corporation board last year used the K7 million [US$2.3 million] it received from the National Planning Department to buy its own machinery "to actually go in there and do the work".

He said NHC was looking at applying for land surrounding the Duran Farm to extend the housing programme.

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