The Ministry of Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport will in April this year introduce a new point system to better process and deal with the high demand for land and houses in the country.
Giving details about the new comprehensive land and housing plan announced by President Danny Faure during his State-of-the-Nation address on February 14, Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport Minister Charles Bastienne said “the point system will drive the whole process within which there will be minimal interference from individuals.”
“Your points will guide us on how to channel your need,” said Minister Bastienne who added that “people need to be assisted according to their need and pay according to their means.”
Minister Bastienne noted that a person’s position on the land and housing list will depend on the number of points scored.
Land will be sold with a 30-year lease to a buyer who will have a five-year period to build his/her house.
“If after five years the house has not been constructed, then your lease becomes void and the government reacquires the land and reallocates it to someone who needs it,” said Minister Bastienne.
This he said will “prevent the current bad practice of people not developing the government-bought land or selling it at higher prices on the private market.
A new policy whereby deadlines will be given, will be put in place and the minister said: “Nowadays when someone is assisted they are not told exactly when they will be assisted. We will put in place an internal system which will be joined to our construction program and by doing this, we will be able to tell you when you will be assisted.”
The minister also noted that his ministry is also working on a classification system whereby applicants will receive assistance according to their income.
“People with an income of less than R10,000 after having paid their pension and taxes will get the fully applicable discount of 23% of the construction cost. People with an income of over R20,000 will not benefit from a discount,” said Minister Bastienne.
Also, applicants earning between R10,000 and R13,000 will be means tested. As for those earning between R13,000 and R20,000 they will benefit from half of the 23% discount.
Minister Bastienne added that this same system will also be used to determine the rate of repayment which will depend on an applicant’s income, a he or she will pay between 20% and 30% of his/her salary compared to the banks repayment rate of between 35% and 40%.
The minister also explained that the government is also looking into the possibility of venturing into public private partnership (PPP) which will be very important for the realisation of the housing programme.
Said Minister Bastienne: “We want to come up with different projects under PPP but we are still waiting for the legal framework to be established.”
While the government is working on reducing the construction cost, it is also encouraging the private sector to not only build high-end condominiums but to also help with social housing.
To reduce the number of applicants on the waiting list for houses, President Faure said earlier this year, the government will build 24 units in the 24 districts in the next 24 months.