By PAULINE DIKUELO, Mmegi, 11/22/2017
In a bid to promote home ownership amongst citizens renting Botswana Housing Corporation’s (BHC) houses, government last year introduced the Installment Purchase Scheme (IPS) under which 750 units would be built.
Out of these, about 250 units were reserved for the youth under the ‘Youth Housing Scheme’. The scheme is part of the government’s efforts to reduce shortage of accommodation amongst the youth who cannot afford rentals from the private market. The units are being built on two plots at Tsholofelo East in Gaborone.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development, the construction of 156 of these units would be complete by end of next month. The ministry further revealed that additional 264 IPS units at another site are now at early stages of construction.
“The first site comprising 372 has been divided into four contracts the first of which, yielding 156 units, is scheduled for completion in December 2017,” read the statement.
Furthermore, the construction of a total of 636 out of 750, which is equivalent to 85% of IPS and Youth Housing Units, has been awarded to citizen contractors.
Due to the nature of construction, these jobs cut across whole spectrum in the industry from casual labourers through technical experts all the way to professionals at the top end.
In addition, the ministry said together with BHC, they are monitoring progress very closely especially that of the contractors who are building the highest number of units together with the infrastructure for 372 units.
“Emphasis is put on strict adherence to the provisions of the contract and we remind the contractors that the client would not hesitate to terminate the contract if there is no improvement on the part of the contractors,” read the statement.
The ministry also said BHC has raised concern over contractors who usually fail to complete their projects on time, saying that this leads to cost overruns as resources remain on site longer than initially budgeted for.
Also, this is said to have a knock on effect in that housing units are not passed on to the intended beneficiaries soon enough.
“Infrastructure and services costs also make BHC housing more expensive to quite a number of Batswana whether they are for sale or rental,” read the statement.
“Unavailability of water and power in certain areas has a negative effect on the delivery of housing to Batswana.”