BRD, Govt to partner in $200m housing project for civil servants

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A housing estate in Kibagabaga. The Government and Development Bank of Rwanda are planning a project of constructing affordable houses for civil servants.

The Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) has said that it will partner with the ministries of Infrastructure and finance, Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) to design ways to start implementation of a new $200m affordable houses project for civil servants who have been struggling with getting affordable houses.

Alex Kanyankore, BRD Chief Executive Officer told Sunday Times on Friday, that the implementation of the scheme is being refined and will start as soon as it is approved by the cabinet because the government will play a big role in the implementation.

“We have to assess the cost of construction and explore ways of using cheap but durable construction materials. Our main concern is to reduce on expensive imported construction materials. We want the government to also help in securing land for this project,” he said. 

He said that initial results indicate the investment will depend on how the scheme will be refined and collection of the funds adding that besides providing loans of constructing the houses, some can also get loans to buy them after.

The project is targeted to be implemented in five years according to officials.

The cost of houses, Kanyankore said, will be made affordable by considering monthly salaries of each category of civil servants which will be used to pay the loan.

He explained that although interest rates on the loans is yet to be finally confirmed, it will be in line with calculations that will be done considering the income that different people in the civil service earn.

However, he said, it was proposed that beneficiaries could pay the loan at between an average of 10 per cent and 13 per cent interest rate.

“We are assessing the rate which is fair to beneficiaries and that is lower than what other banks charge,” he reassured.

The project targets public service employees who earn between Rwf40,000 and Rwf600,000 because it is the category that has been struggling with building themselves affordable houses.

Speaking to Sunday Times, Augustine Kampayana , the Acting Director General of  Rwanda Housing Authority said a study was being carried out to know how many public workers are in need of affordable houses.

“We will choose which design of houses under the new project and which cost will be approved. Ministerial guidelines will be issued before the implementation starts.

Civil servants react
 
Didas Ndamira said he needs an affordable house that would cost between Rwf10m and Rwf20m which he can pay within 10 years by paying no more than 1/3 of his salary.

However he said: “I have worries over high interest rate from many banks. If BRD slashes the rate under the new affordable houses project, it would be a very contributing factor towards ending my worries.”

Another civil servant from Kicukiro district said his worries were about the quality of houses they will be provided.

“I am concerned about the quality, size, construction materials to be used and its location. I would prefer to get a loan at a cheap interest rate, build a Rwf30m house myself to ensure I get one I need,” he said.

Leonard Tukamwibonera, a public relations officer at Meteo Rwanda said the new project will be helpful because it has been difficult to gather enough money to construct a Rwf15m or Rwf20m house.

“This project is a relief because constructing houses has been costly because of expensive land especially in Kigali city and other places we wish to live in. It is difficult to build a decent house from the salaries we get without other sources of income. If someone has a salary of Rwf400,000, a bank can only grant you Rwf4.5m at an interest rate of 18 % or 19 % and this amount sometimes cannot buy a enough land to construct in a house,” he said.

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