The construction of 125 housing units by the National Housing Authority (NHA), intended to advance government’s efforts to provide its citizens with modern, affordable shelter, is speedily progressing and may be completed very soon for immediate occupation, NHA authorities have said.
Forty of these 125 proposed units are expected to be completed in two months. The contractors working on the project have completed two of the 40 housing units, while 38 are at roof level, according to NHA Project Development Officer ES-Samir Bropleh.
Bropleh said the construction of the 40 units constitutes phase one which is being sponsored by the Government of Liberia.
He told reporters at the project site in Marshall on Thursday during a site visit that construction work was being carried out by five Liberian-owned construction companies. Each unit in the EJS Housing Estate contains three bedrooms, two bathrooms with shower, a kitchen and a living room.
“The level of work going on here is a clear manifestation that the government is ready to take the housing sector by storm. The NHA is ready to do its work. I just want to let you know that actual construction work started about two weeks ago,” Mr. Bropleh said
He indicated further that Liberian companies are now doing a great job. “We hope and pray that they keep up the momentum so that the first phase can be completed in the next two months.”
The housing estate, named in honor of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is located in Ben Town, along the Marshall Road in Margibi County. The project includes a 125 unit estate, school building and recreational centers for children. According to the NHA, the estate is the vision of the President who wants to see a vibrant community in the area.
President Sirleaf has been stressing the need for affordable housing for Liberians across the country. During a dedication ceremony recently of an Estate constructed by a Liberian businessman, the President noted that Liberians, home and abroad, should begin to invest in housing.
According to NHA Public Relations Officer, T. Maxwell Davis, these companies were awarded the contract after a competitive bidding process. It was also meant to empower local companies.
Though the project, clearing of the land and foundations, started a couple of years ago, it has since stalled without much being done. Since the arrival of the new management at the NHA, the project has resumed and will soon be complete, Mr. Davis said.
Mr. Davis indicated that when the NHA is provided with the needed funds, the entity could build modern and affordable estates for every Liberian. “The problem has been financial constraints, but the NHA is capable of providing housing for all Liberians,” he said.
It is worth mentioning that the Liberian civil war greatly affected housing development in the country. But since June of 2012, the program for the construction of 5,000 Affordable Housing Units and the creation of a home ownership and mortgage program was formulated by the NHA in collaboration with the Housing Working Group (HWG), officials said.
The NHA partners will work through the HWG which includes the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) and the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP).
The partners have provided funding for the construction of 88 housing units in Montserrado, Lofa and Grand Bassa Counties respectively. The Central Bank of Liberia also provided US$10 million to the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) for financing housing development in Liberia.
NHA authorities indicated that due to financial constraints, the NHA has only constructed 128 housing units since 2012. These estates are located in Brewerville and Ben Town.
The rejuvenated National Housing Authority (NHA) under the leadership of newly appointed Managing Director, Samuel Wlue, is doing all in its power to live up to the mandate of the NHA, officials said.
An executive of one of the contracting companies indicated that he was glad that the Liberian government has now begun to select local companies for major projects and noted that it is only Liberians that will build Liberia.
He, however admonished his colleagues that when they are given projects, they should do all they can to live up to their contractual agreements.
Meanwhile, the companies that were contracted by the NHA for the project include, Cosmo Construction Company, Vertu Construction and Architecture Company, Link Construction, American Eagle and C. J. Construction Companies.
The NHA was created by an Act of the National Legislature of the Republic of Liberia on April 7, 1960 as a specialized agency with the mandate to plan, initiate and implement housing development throughout the country. Prior to the Liberian crisis, the Liberian government had built seven estates in Monrovia and its environs.