Lands dept looks at providing affordable housing

The Lands Department is looking at providing affordable housing for public servants as well as taxpayers.

Minister John Rosso made their intention known during a recent press briefing in Port Moresby.

Creating affordable housing in PNG’s urban centres is a complicated and daunting task considering the large number of squatters on State land, land ownership issues, the connection of utilities and reticulation on the land itself.

Minister Rosso said this is why the department will be entering into a partnership with NASFUND, Nambawan Super and Comrade Trustee Services to avail land for titles to be issued to public servants, taxpaying citizens and super fund members.

“Hopefully by the end of this year or early next year, we should be able to announce a partnership moving forward with the aim of trying to – my personal aim and Government policy – to ensure that a holistic approach is done to make 5,000 allotments available for public servants; and not just public servants but all our people working in our towns and urban areas,” Rosso stated.

Rosso stated that they are targeting affordable urban housing as most taxpayers live in settlements due to unregulated, costly rental fees.

“A lot of them cannot afford to go to the banks and get dinau; they just can’t afford it. The housing price for a block of land and house in Port Moresby is between K400,000-K500,000. We’re trying to bring it down to about K250,000 to K300,000 level or even lower.”

NASFUND CEO, Ian Tarutia, said the issue discussed was critical, considering the superannuation funds have contributors that are in excess of 800,000 workers.

“And a contentious issue that we are always faced with is homes. And importantly, affordable homes.

“But it requires all stakeholders, it’s not just one institution or one department to get something of this magnitude working,” he stated.

Tarutia said they look forward to continuing discussions with the government.

Carmella Gware