Mr. Samuel Thompson, Managing Director of the Liberia National Housing Authority (NHA), has disclosed that with the help of consultants, for the first time in Liberia’s history, the NHA has among other things, produced a new draft National Housing Policy to guide projections for providing 512,000 housing units in Liberia by 2030, the target year for Liberia to have achieved middle-income status.
That means, delivery of these dwellings would require a build rate of 30,000 new dwellings every year – for the next 17 years – if Liberia is to become a middle income country.
“Clearly, the old approach of the NHA actually engaging in the direct provision of homes has not worked and cannot be expected to bridge the glaring deficit in decent and affordable housing,” an NHA statement signed by managing director, Samuel W. Thomason explained.
Based on those ongoing development plans, the NHA says a two-day National Stakeholder’s Colloquium is scheduled for April 17-18, 2014 and is expected to bring together a wide range of participants from across Liberia to deliberate on the draft policy.
Mr. Thompson says the policy draft would then be presented to the donor community, the cabinet and the Legislature for further review and input before being finalized for formal launching.
The new National Housing Policy should provide a rational and holistic framework for passing new legislation, reforming existing organizations and creating new institutions to effectively address the significant housing needs of the country.
Hopefully, Mr. Thompson said, the exercise will also erase the misconception among both policy makers and the general public that the housing sector simply provides a social good.
Housing, he said, is known worldwide as a powerful engine for economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction for large numbers of people, economic justice and expansion of the tax base.
Also, progress in the provision of decent, affordable housing also has a direct bearing on national security, “because it gives a larger number of families a reason to maintain peace and stability.”
The NHA was established by an Act of the National Legislature to, among other things, join the overall growth and development of the Liberian economy by serving as an engine of economic growth, economic justice and individual upliftment of the citizens.
However, a recent media report branded the Housing Autority a “failure”, an assertion which the NHA leadership says is unfounded.
Mr. Thompson disclosed that his administration remains resolute toward meeting the country’s National Vision 2030 development framework and Agenda for Transformation that mandates the NHA to expand access to affordable housing for low income households in all counties.
Based on that, in June 2012, the NHA in collaboration with the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Planning developed a plan called “Program for the Construction of 5,000 Housing Units and Home Ownership for Low to Middle Income Earners,” which are yet to become fruitful due to other challenges the entity is faced with.
So far, however, a US$10 Million low-interest, 10-year fund has been provided by the CBL to LBDI to lend for housing construction and mortgage loans. Old and New Matadi residents are now tapping into these funds to purchase homes they were only occupying as tenants up to 2011.
NASSCORP also provided an initial CSR funding of US$1 Million to acquire land and build the first 58 housing units and cover project management costs at the NHA Brewerville Housing Estate. However, the NHA is still awaiting approval from the Ministry of Finance’s (MOF) Debt Management Committee for a proposal submitted in September, 2013 to borrow US$2 Million from the CBL funds to build an additional 100 housing units at Brewerville, which has a purported waiting list of almost 300 applicants to purchase homes at the Estate.