Answer to Housing Crisis Raises Questions


The new condominiums suffer from a lack of completed infrastructures




The 1,292 residential units under the 40/60 condominium housing projects inaugurated on March 11, 2017, may not be transferred to homeowners at the expected time, according to officials from the Addis Abeba Housing Development Project Office. The housing units being inaugurated are located in Aqaqi-Qality and Lideta districts and have reached about 98pc completion.

There are still works to be done in order to bring the housing up to the agreed upon standards, according to the statement by the official from the Enterprise on March 5, 2017. Infrastructure construction, although it is underway, has still not been completed in the condominium sites, in spite of requests from the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) which is responsible for handing over the houses to the registered applicants.

The saving for the houses is administered under the Commercial Bank, which is also responsible for the drawing to select beneficiaries of the project. A total of around 164,000 people have been registered for the homes since registration began around four years ago. Around 16,000 people have already paid 100pc of the cost of the houses.

Residents register for a condominium, and open an account with the CBE. They then save as much money as they can in dedicated accounts to pay off the houses. 40/60 housing is intended for middle class residents. Lower income condominiums include the 10/90 and 20/80 schemes, which require registered people to save 10pc and 20pc of the price of the houses, respectively, before they take ownership of the houses, and then slowly pay the remainder.

However, the selection of the beneficiaries has been causing some controversy in Addis. In line with the policies of the Housing Development Office, the registered beneficiaries who have paid the total cost of the condominiums will be given priority to receive houses.

“Part of the purpose of the 40/60 scheme was to mobilise saving and to ease housing problems at the same time,” said Diriba Kuma, mayor of Addis Abeba, at a press conference at his office on March 10, 2016. “In line with our policies people who have saved the most will be given priority in the drawing.”

“The scheme is structured in such a way as to reduce government waste,” added the Mayor. But some city residents are unwilling to accept the explanation.

A home buyer who registered the 40/60 scheme believes everyone should have an equal chance during the selection process.

“People shouldn’t be punished just because they don’t have enough money to pay everything all at once.”

“When the registration opened, they didn’t tell us that you had to pay everything upfront to get a house,” he added.

However, Diriba seems optimistic about the process.

“This is in line with our policies,” he explained. “Everyone who has registered for a condominium will get one.”

Representatives from the CBE declined to comment, stating that the Bank would soon hold a press conference to discuss on issues regarding the middle class housing.

Construction and laying electricity cables in three of the condominium sites, located at Bole Arabsa, Koye Feche and Qilinto, has yet to be completed. Although work has begun to lay the cables, it will not be completed for more than three months, according to the National Condominium Electrification Program Office.

Facilities such as sewerage facilities were also not completed at any of the three sites.

The condominium housing project, which began as a scheme to provide low income housing for the ever growing population of Addis Abeba, currently reaching 3.3 million people. The condominium scheme, which started six years ago, during the first edition of the Growth and Transformation Plan, grew both out of a desire to address the City’s housing crisis, and to encourage saving.

Since the inception of the condominium housing project, the city’s housing programme has transfered around 175,000 low-cost condominiums to its residents through eleven rounds. At this rate of construction and transfer of homes, the government will not be able to provide housing for a million citizens currently registered before 68 years.

The condominum housing projects are far from the only ones to suffer issues.

The Institution of the Ombudsman, which is responsible for overseeing government offices and projects to ensure that the rights of citizens are protected, carried out an evaluation of the housing projects carried out by the Addis Abeba Housing Construction Project Office.

The evaluation found that there were multiple issues during the projects, leading to almost a million people not being able to take ownership of their homes. In addition, issues such as contractors being terminated in the middle of projects, and inefficiencies in planning, management and quality.

“The homes are not built with care,” said a condominium owner. “The walls are cracking even from the first day.”

Currently, the government is constructing over 94,000 condominium houses. Out of these 39,000 houses are under 40/60 scheme.

Beyene Wolde contributed to this story.


By MENNA ASRAT
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Mar 14,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 880]


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