Saturday, November 30, 2013

2,000 slums to be transformed into classy, affordable housing projects

UN Habitat
More than 2,000 slum dwellers countrywide will be uplifted through development of bankable projects that promote affordable housing for low income earners by the year 2015.

According to the Tanzania Financial Services for Underserved Settlements (TAFSUS), the overall project value of USD3.58m is aimed at slums and settlements upgrading.

The decision was taken following the commitment of the government to formally recognise informal settlements and pledge to support the upgrading of such areas leading to better human settlements in the country.

TAFSUS is supported by the Slum Upgrading Facility (SUF) of UN Habitat; it aims to uplift the living standards of slum dwellers through the development of bankable projects that promote affordable housing for low- income household.

A statement issued to this paper on Tuesday said SUF operates under the premise that informal settlements can be upgraded successfully when the existing settlement dwellers are involved in the planning and designing of upgrading projects.

Further, it said TAFSUS is to work with various local actors to make informal settlements upgrading projects “bankable” – that is, attractive to retail banks, property developers, housing finance institutions, service providers, micro-finance institutions, and utility companies.

TAFSUS is designed to offer technical support for upgrading projects development and credit enhancement, most commonly in the form of guarantees to support housing and infrastructure improvement for the poor.

It seeks to finance projects with a combination of community savings, central and local government subsidies, and local domestic commercial bank lending.

Similar SUF projects are being piloted in Ghana, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, where various approaches are being tested to support the purpose of financing upgrading of underserved settlements using domestic commercial finance.

The work of TAFSUS fits under the Cluster II of NSGRP8 –the improvement of quality of life and social well being in particular goal number 4 and five which emphasize on increasing access to affordable clean and safe water; sanitation and hygiene and develop decent human settlement while sustaining environmental quality.

The organisation’s work is to contribute to the financing of NSGRP II mainly by capitalising the public private partnerships, particularly in the provision of social services through credit enhancement.

TAFSUS grew from the work of the Slum Upgrading Facility that has had a presence in Tanzania since 2004, with a mission of developing innovative financial mechanisms for slums and settlements upgrading projects.

Opening the international conference on growing housing opportunities in Africa held in Dar es Salaam last year, the deputy Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements, Goodluck ole Medeye was quoted as saying the government has started to review all restrictive laws for land to enable more people access it and build low cost houses.

He said the government intends to do away with all cumbersome procedures facing wananchi so as to acquire land or own houses.

According to him, establishment of Tanzania Mortgage Refinance Company (TMRC) is a clear example that people would access loans from commercial banks for the building of low cost houses.

He said Tanzania is committed to unlock housing problems which face many people in urban and rural areas.

He urged investors to consider investing in low cost houses to enable more people own and repay the loans within a short period of time. 

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