by Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Another government sponsored housing scheme is progressing to enable public servants access to land to build their own homes.
This housing scheme, which has a K20 million budget for this year, will come under the trustee of 5 government agencies and will carry with it specific conditions.
This comes as Papua New Guineans who are working to build their own homes are constantly challenged with obtaining secure government land titles to secure loans from the banks.
In the blistering heat of Port Moresby, members of the National Lands Board stood in front of the site where a land allocation scheme will enable public servants to build their own homes.
Board Chairman, Sam Wange, said, “There are about 32 governmetn departments and organisations that came together, putting ideas together, work together to acquire land here.”
The site is a part of Gerehu stage 3B, located along the newly constructed Gerehu to 9 mile road.
It is planned to be divided into over 1,734 blocks of land. Max Kep, from the Office of Urbanisation said a lot depends on this pilot project.
“Land is the biggest problem for Papua New Guineans, for Papua New Guinea government workers as well as the private sector,” he said adding that this initiative with government agencies coming together make available parcels of land that has services such as water, power and sewerage is makes a lot of difference.
He said the land under this scheme will be given to qualified public servants through a raffle system.
“The first 500 will be raffled in the next few weeks or so. These are the ones that the bank has already qualified to have bank loans. ”
As with other undeveloped state land in the country, settlers have already built permanent houses on the site.
But the message from the government to them is very clear.
“I ask those people living up there to start moving because this land is owned by the state which is the five nominated trustees,” he added that heavy machinery will move in soon to start work.
The five trustee members include National Planning, Lands Department, Finance Department, Office of Urbanisation and the Department of Justice and Attorney General.
This scheme will be paired with the first home ownership scheme that the government has with the BSP Bank where K200 million has been given to the bank by the government for Papua New Guineans to access housing loans at the lower interest rate.
However, what has been a challenge for many Papua New Guineans is obtaining secure lands titles to access that loan.
For now, the public servants at least will be given better access to this loan through this scheme which will have strong conditions.
“People who benefit from it will have to comply with certain conditions. They cannot deal with the land, they cannot sell it, we don’t want people to speculate on it and sell it to another people,” Mr Kep clarified.