NHA recounts losses
Authorities at the National Housing Authority or NHA say the housing sector in Liberia suffered serious destruction during the period 1996-2014. According to the NHA, as a result of the Liberian Civil War, many housing facilities were destroyed or abandoned and dilapidated as occupants fled for safety to neighboring countries.
Speaking Thursday, March 19, 2015 at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism’s regular press briefing, the Managing Director for the NHA, Samuel Wlue, explained that following the presidential election in 1997, there was high rural-urban migration, especially to Monrovia in anticipation that citizens’ livelihoods would improve, which he said, resulted to high demand for housing as well as overcrowding of both public and private housing facilities around the country.
The NHA boss said the demand for housing was further exacerbated since the 2005 election as many Liberians returned from the Diasporas.
He said as a result of this exercise, slum communities are presently growing very fast, exposing the country to problems such as land conflicts, crimes, diseases, poverty, insecurity and high rental fees, among others.
Mr. Wlue said public investment into the housing sector has been a serious challenge due to the size of the Liberian budget and other competing priorities, including road construction, energy, education, and health.
He however narrated that interventions made by the NHA to increase access to affordable housing facilities include Affordable Housing Construction, Land Acquisition, and Inter-government Agency Partnership, as well as NHA decentralization plan along growth corridor, among others.
Mr. Wlue also told reporters that the Liberian Civil War greatly affected housing development during the period under view in June 2012.
He noted that programme for the construction of 5,000 affordable housing units and the creation of a home ownership and mortgage program was formulated by the NHA in collaboration with the Housing Sector working group, but due to financial constraint, only 128 housing units were constructed during the period under view.
He said, plans are under way to construct 125 units- modern and affordable housing estate in Ben Town, Margibi County, along the Marshall road and additional 35 units as extension to the 58 units in Gobah Town, Brewerville Estate in Montserrado County.
Meanwhile, the NHA Managing Director has disclosed that the entity is currently in partnership with the National Oil Company of Liberia or NOCAL and the National Social Security &Welfare Corporation or NASSCORP, for funding to construct 88 housing units in Montserrado, Lofa, Nimba and Grand Bassa counties, respectively.
He added that the Central Bank of Liberia or CBL has also provided $US10 Million to the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment to finance housing development initiatives in Liberia, and that to date, several Liberians are now tapping into the CBL-secured loans for housing construction.
By Lewis S. Teh