Uganda’s real estate landscape is expected to change soon as the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) embarks on the construction of the US$400 million at its Lubowa estate, Wakiso district.
According to NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba, the project that will have 2,740 housing units is part of the Fund’s investment portfolio that will give members competitive returns on their savings, with the project that will take 10 years to complete standing on 565 acres of land along Entebbe Road.
The NSSF says the project targets Uganda’s middle class, and is expected to partly address the country’s housing needs of 300,000 units annually.
“We can only fulfill our promise to grow members’ savings in real terms, continue to grow and become a profitable Fund by taking bold decisions like the one that we have taken today. The real estate market is still profitable and gives an opportunity to diversify our investments.” Mr. Byarugaba said.
He said that the Fund will make an initial monetary investment for the first phase, after which the project is expected to be self-financing with projection to complete the first phase in three years.
The project will have offices, retail units, school, hospital, leisure and commercial areas. It will also have police and fire stations as well as places of worship, a central park and a plantation garden park, creating a desirable environment for the residents.
Once completed, Byarugaba said, the houses will be sold on the open market to both the Fund members and the general public. Priority will be given to the members at prevailing market rates at the time of completion of the project.
Launching the project works, Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, said the estate is a landmark project which is in line with Government’s plan to provide decent housing for Ugandans.
“This is a well thought out; well-planned housing estate that meets high standards of urban planning and it ensures that Ugandans will have quality housing. Well planned housing projects such as this will contribute greatly to the transformation of our country,” Kasaija said.
The Board Chairman, Patrick Byabakama Kaberenge said that the Fund’s real estate strategy would target low cost housing for its members.
Other planned housing projects include off taker projects in and around Kampala, 5,000 housing units project at Temangalo, Wakiso, and a planned estate in Nsimbe, which the Fund recently redeemed and acquired in totality.
The Fund’s other key real estate investments include the Shs 15.5 billion shillings Mbuya Housing Project, the 3.3 billion commercial complex in Jinja, the upcoming Mbarara commercial complex, Workers House, Social Security House and Pension Towers on Lumumba Avenue.
Mr. Byarugaba said however that even though Real Estate was a viable venture, the Fund would continue to diversify its investments thereby minimizing any risks within its asset classes that can impair the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objectives.
Currently, NSSF has Shs7.9 trillion in assets and increased its stake in Umeme to 23 percent up from 15 percent as it invested Shs59.4bn, the largest institutional investment on the Uganda Securities Exchange.
NSSF has over the years launched campaigns to attract people to save with it for the better future, the recent one was the voluntary savings scheme, helped with the addition of mobile money platform that members can use to make contributions without hustles.