Banks call for public-private partnership

In a move to put up low cost houses in the country, banks are calling for a public private partnership if Rwandans are to benefit from improved economic levels.
Kabuga hillside housing estate in Kigali; Banks have asked government to provide subsidies in purchase of land. The New Times / File.
Kabuga hillside housing estate in Kigali; Banks have asked government to provide subsidies in purchase of land. The New Times / File.

In a move to put up low cost houses in the country, banks are calling for a public private partnership if Rwandans are to benefit from improved economic levels.

While house ownership has been common, purchasing one under the mortgage facility is still a new phenomenon in the country.

According to KCB Rwanda’s Managing Director, Maurice K. Toroitich, there are insufficient housing development for middle and low income earners yet housing is a key indicator of improved personal income among professional young Rwandans.

“My expectations are that it will be achieved through public private partnership and it is an area that I believe developers should focus on to find ways and means to ensure houses are developed using the right technology thereby reducing prices,” he says.

He mentions that government should provide subsidies in land purchases, infrastructure, road network, and sewerage systems because that is where a lot of demand would be.

The KCB chief says that in the future, as many enhance their incomes, land will be scarce and more expensive. Hence, Rwandans should get used to live in flats because this is where development will lead the country.

“The reality of life is that eventually, people will live in flats like its being done else where in the world,” he said.

 With the country’s vision to transform from a low to a middle income country, one of the areas to benefit from improved income levels will be the mortgage sector.

 “Mortgage offering is fairly new in the market with a new mortgage and condominium laws and if developers begin to bring to the market property of the right quality and price, demand will always be there,” Toroitich offers.

 Chief Operations Officer of Bank of Kigali, Lawson Naibo, says the best example is how government developed the Rwanda Economic Zone.

Naibo notes that government should earmark land in which to put up basic infrastructure, and then sell it to developers.

“When developers will not count the cost of developing the land, the cost of houses will be lesser and they are able to roll out as many housing units in the shortest possible time,” he observed.

He also suggested that government should earmark land for specific design of houses like flats.

Jack Kayonga, Chief Executive Officer , Rwanda Development Bank said an initiative, under the ministry of Infrastructure, through the Rwanda Housing Authority spearheaded by Prime Minister’s Office is already in place.

“We recognise the need for low cost houses and the initiative is in the spirit of constructing affordable houses but it’s still premature to disclose what is in the strategy,” Kayonga noted. He promised that in two weeks should be ready for public consumption the initiative.

 KCB recently jointly launched  a home guarantee insurance product geared towards addressing housing shortage in Rwanda. The product dubbed, Collateral Replacement Indemnity (CRI), will target between 100 and 150 housing units per year with each costing up to Rwf45 million.

With the additional offering, KCB intends to conduct more publicity coupled with a mortgage education programme.  

The additional product allows people who can afford a home but can not afford to raise the requisite deposit to still be able to buy a house.

Clients are compelled to borrow money as personal loans to raise the deposit or to save for another three to four years.

“This is an enhancement of our existing mortgage product which has been very successful in the market,” he said.

The bank invested Rwf12 billion in mortgage lending, last year, to build 300 houses and intends to invest Rwf4 billion in the newly launched product.

He said KCB currently offers the lowest equity at 10 percent of the total value of the required amount to buy a house. He warned that property purchase has to be done professionally and not casual.

“It’s not a transaction that you give money on the street. You need to make sure documentation is done properly especially through property ownership and proper agreements.”

He observed that numerous people are usually in a hurry to pay so as not to lose a deal, pointing out that this compromises the process.

“It may take time but usually, it’s supposed to be a hassle free process. Just make sure that people use the right procedure to buy a house,” he emphasised.

With 25,000 units needed annually to serve the ever-rising housing demand countrywide, experts say that only between 300 and 500 units are built annually.

 

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