Caption: Clay bricks, which can be easily made in PNG, could help ease our housing crisis
Reichert Thanda, an assistant secretary with the Department of National Planning and Monitoring who is currently studying for his masters at the
“I fear for the worse because, if the relevant stakeholders including the government are not taking appropriate steps to address the housing issue, then this really is a crisis situation given huge projects like the LNG which is expected to employ close to 5-7000 people,” he said.
Mr Thanda proposed steps that relevant stakeholders could apply in addressing this “potentially dangerous” situation:
· Form a national multi-stakeholder committee comprising key central agencies like Treasury, Finance, Planning and the PM’s Department to as part of the urbanisation policy to free up customary land within the periphery of the Port Moresby City (through registration and leasing of customary land to private investors and individuals to build their houses);
· Two options: engage youths in manufacture of bricks through supervision by perhaps Habitat for Humanity (e.g. case of
· Open up and expand the financial and banking sector so that credit facilities are made available including through Nambawan Super and Nasfund. Why not members obtain housing loans directly from Nambawan Super or Nasfund including the saving societies instead of the banks? The market for credit facilities in PNG is completely underdeveloped for average income earners to invest in such properties in order to improve their living standards.
· Government through a Cabinet decision must allocate K1 million each for staff housing from next year’s Development Budget (starting with central agencies and line ministries and eventually to the provinces) which can be used as either collateral or applied in a scheme describe in point;
· In light of the LNG project, Government must quickly formulate a single structure salary system instead of the current discriminatory dual system; and
· The same committee with National Capital District Commission should plan for the city’s expansion immediately.
“While the above proposals are not limited in scope, I am sure it will generate a lot of bright ideas from the people of PNG,” Mr Thanda said.
“Let’s not look to the foreigners to provide us with solutions but look around to see how we can utilise existing skills and resources to improve the lives of our fellow citizens.
“Let me therefore conclude with this quote from Marcel Proust: ‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes’.”