Ugandans should do away with constructing individual houses and instead use the mortgage platform to acquire affordable houses, the Managing Director of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Richard Byarugaba, has said.

Byarugaba made the call on Thursday at the Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala while addressing participants attending the Second Innovations Series organised by Braincild Burson- Marsteller under the theme; “Making Real Estate Ownership a Reality.
“Most of people in the western world have developed because of mortgages,” he said that most individuals in Uganda don’t have ready money to finish up projects as early as possible and as such locks the money that should have been used to gain profit.
Supporting Byarugaba’s argument, the Managing Director of Housing Finance Bank, Mathias Katamba said that Uganda as a country has less than 10,000 mortgages, compared to about 25,000 mortgages in Kenya.

Katamba urged Ugandans to utilize mortgage facilities offered by the Bank, saying that individual construction of houses is not good for the real estate business, which is supposed to provide affordable housing units across the country.
He said that even people working in the informal sector, if well organised, can be able to acquire decent houses via the mortgaging platform.

On the other hand, Byarugaba said NSSF has in its data base 2.1 savers from different entities who can be able to acquire mortgages, stating that he has always encouraged his staff to acquire mortgages.

Meanwhile, Samuel Malaba, the Commissioner, Human Settlements, Directorate of Housing in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, said that government has put in place an enabling environment by capitalizing Housing Finance Bank to provide mortgages for those who want finished houses, and other products.

Addressing the participants, Buganda Land Board Managing Director, David Kyewalabye Male, said that the campaign by the kingdom administration to provide land titles to ‘Bibanja’ holders has paid off as holders can now use the documents to mortgage their properties, or use them to acquire money for different purposes.

He added that the land titles have now provided those staying on Kabaka’s land security of tenure, as no one can come and evict them from their plots.

Addressing participants, innovators in the real estate sector said they have adopted technologies to provide low-cost housing units. The argued that permanent houses have become expensive to construct because most developers use expensive inputs.
One of the innovators, Stephen Jjuuko Kwagala, the MD of Innovation Consortium, showcased some of the cheap materials his company uses to build low cost housing units. He said the appropriate technologies they use as they construct houses also protect the environment.

Another innovator of solutions for low cost housing, Yusuf Kazibwe, urged government to allow in cement imports, saying that the current Shs40, 000 charged for a bag of cement is too high and that it has hit hard the real estate sector.
The Innovation Series event brought together business leaders, managers, government technocrats, individuals and the media to discuss topical issues affecting the real estate sector in Uganda.