Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday said demand for housing was increasing annually, and asked the public and private sectors to step up investment in the area to address the challenge.
The Head of State also accepted a request from occupants of Magomeni Quarters that they be allowed to pay in installments in order to gain full ownership of the houses at the end of the five-year grace period in which they would not pay rent.
President Hassan was speaking when she officially opened residential buildings worth Sh52.1 billion, and whose construction began during the leadership of former President John Magufuli. The houses were built to accommodate 644 residents, who surrendered their land for the project.
The handing over of the buildings came after six years of implementation of the project by the state-owned Tanzania Building Agency (TBA).
President Hassan said available statistics showed that the country was facing a shortage of three million housing units, with the shortfall increasing annually by 200,000 units.
“This shows that there is a huge opportunity in the sector. TBA, Watumishi Housing Corporation and National Housing Corporation should collaborate with the private sector to increase investment in the area in order to address the challenge,” she said.
According to her, improving public-private partnership could go a long way in swiftly addressing challenges the people were facing instead of waiting for the government’s intervention.
President Hassan added that critics of the Magomeni project, who said that the scheme would never be completed, had been proven wrong.
She said all projects being implemented by the government were in CCM’s Election Manifesto 2020-2025, adding that the project was launched when she was Vice President.
“Residents are allowed to pay in installments under the tenant purchaser system. This is up to them, and they can becoming legitimate owners of the houses after the agreed five years elapse,” said President Hassan.
According to her, the decision would enable the government to recoup construction costs, and make it possible for TBA to embark on the execution of similar projects.
President Hassan asked the occupants to ensure that the houses were kept clean and well maintained, and directed TBA and other relevant institutions to closely monitor the situation at the site.
The Head of State granted the occupants’ request that electricity and water bills, and security charges be waived for three months.
TBA director general Daudi Kondoro said the total; area of the project was 32 hectares, but only nine hectares had been used in the construction of residential units, with the remaining area being reserved for commercial activities.
“A large number of the youth were employed during execution of the project that was 100 percent funded by the government. We call upon the government to continue funding the agency so that it can continue to implement similar housing projects,” he said.
The chairman of Parliament’s Infrastructure Development Committee, Mr Selemani Kakoso, said TBA was facing various challenges, including debts government institutions owed the agency.
“Government institutions owe TBA about Sh50 billion. The government should help the agency to recover this money,” he said.