The Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija has called for investments by local construction companies, saying the move is an important ingredient in leveraging the housing multiplier effect.
According to the Minister, the National Housing and Construction Corporation (NHCC) planning to build five million houses in a projected period of 10 years in Uganda
Mr. Kasaija, who was speaking at the opening of the 33rd Annual African Housing Conference slated for 17th to 19th of October at Kampala Serena Hotel, also implored Ugandan engineers to tap into the lucrative market, and to form companies that will enhance infrastructural construction to develop the economy.
“Government gives money to foreign companies to construct roads yet Ugandan local companies could have built those infrastructures and invest their earnings in Uganda rather than those who earn here and invest in their countries of residence,” he said adding that the government was currently undertaking the construction of 32 new roads, a figure that will likely shoot up to 40 roads ‘when we add oil roads’.
The minister disclosed that according to the Uganda Housing Policy, one million housing units in Uganda are of substandard quality.
Further, Mr. Kasaija noted that access to financial services had improved with lower interest rates, adding however, that Africans are poor at saving.
“Africans, let us learn to save money now; Ugandans, no one owes us a living, we have to live on our own, let us start saving because we entirely depend on ourselves,” Mr. Kasaija advised, and noted that affordable housing and construction is through cheap building materials and affordable mortgages.
According to NHCC, by 2020, the housing requirement in Kampala will be at 750,791 units, other towns 1,092,318 units, rural areas 8,482,889 units and nationally 10,325,990 units.
NHCC believes it will multiply its housing stocks by 10 to 15 per cent in the next seven years.
Housing experts say there is need for reasonably priced housing solutions as house prices continue rising between 10 and15 per cent per year, a figure that is unequal to household income.
The annual conference brings together key players in the continent’s housing and housing finance industry to discuss better ways of housing in Africa.