The Government will be spending $900 million to ensure 16 housing areas have access to electricity. This could result in more persons occupying house lots awarded by the Central Housing and Planning Authority, Ministry of Communities.
In an interview with the Government Information Agency at her office today, Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Valerie Patterson said tenders for works in the 16 areas will be advertised shortly.
Hon. Valerie Patterson, Minister within the Ministry of Communities, with responsibility for housing
“We are tendering for suppliers of electrical hardware materials value about $900M. As soon as the tendering process is completed and the procurement is done… in the first quarter of 2017 all 16 areas will have electricity and that’s a promise. When we are finished with that 16 we would have completed all the schemes fully,” Patterson said.
More than forty percent of the house lots allocated through the Ministry of Communities, Department of Housing under the previous administration is still to be occupied.
While many persons have said they could not afford the lots they were awarded, Patterson acknowledged the absence of proper infrastructure as a major contributing factor to the low occupancy rate.
An area of allocated, but unoccupied land
“When we talked about the low occupancy it was not only for the reason of … affordability but we have low occupancy because in some of the areas little or no infrastructural works were done. We have situations where persons were allocated lands in 2014 and early 2015 and they can’t even find the house lot because there are no roads to take them to it,” Patterson pointed out.
Acknowledging the importance of government’s intervention for the development of the housing sector, the minister said that steps are being taken to encourage persons to occupy their lots in the various housing areas.
“We have to put in the infrastructures. There are areas where people were allocated house lots, but there is no water (and) no electricity. In all fairness to these people even if you are renting a house somewhere, you have access to water and electricity, you are not going to leave there. You want to look at television, you have kids to study at nights and all of that,” the minister noted.
Meanwhile, the government is realigning its housing programme to provide housing complexes instead of stand- alone homes.