Govt withdraw from housing provision: NRI

The PNG Government must consider withdrawing from the direct provision of housing but to provide policy settings to facilitate and support the private sector meet demand for housing.

This is one of the findings emerging from The Housing and Property Policy Development Report study launched by the National Research Institute today.

The finding is one of five to have emerged from the report, which was presented by former NRI Director, Dr. Thomas Webster and Dr. Lindsay Kutuan.

NRI Director, Dr Charles Yala, said the evidence was overwhelming in that the private sector delivered major housing projects while the public sector lagged in getting things off the ground.

“While the public sector let projects remain in planning and met by talking, fighting and looking for money, the private sector developed and delivered houses to Papua New Guineans,” said Yala.

“Duran Farm and Gerehu Stage 3B are still in the learning phases as demonstrated in the presentation. In contrast the private sector developments from Eda Town, Ela Vista, and Skyview, or under Glory Group of Companies have advanced.”

Two key recommendations from the report highlighted the need for a High Level Taskforce and a Project Level Committee.

The High Level Task Force would take responsibility for overall policy coordination of the Property and Housing Sector Development, which includes findings from the study which are:

  • Identifying towns and cities requiring housing developments and proactively setting up Project Committees to identify Green fields, develop plans, engage developers and support construction and other arrangements.
  • Considering tax incentives for large scale property developers to defray some of the costs of trunk infrastructure that Governments would normally fund.
  • Considering duty exemptions for imported materials in the construction of large scale housing estates.
  • Commissioning technical reports as required to inform and promote the development of the Property and Housing Development Sector.

The Project Level Committee would addresses issues such as:

  • Assisting Town and City Authorities to develop large scale property developments for housing and mixed developments.
  • Land—Identifying alienated land and allocating it for property developments. If there is no alienated land, working with customary land owners as per the new land laws.
  • Trunk Infrastructure Costs can be allocated under annual Government budget. It can also be negotiated with each developer under tax holiday arrangements. Treasury can negotiate and recommend to NEC on a case by case basis.
  • Better Coordination and Input from State Agency Service Providers and Regulatory Agencies.
  • Pooling limited Project Management skills for improved efficiency and effectiveness in synchronising different tasks of the various state agencies and developers.

The study was commissioned by the Housing and Property Development Secretariat and funded by the Department of Treasury.

The full report can be downloaded from the NRI website ( 

Cedric Patjole