By Francis Kagolo
The Government is to construct over 10,000 low-cost houses for fresh graduates across the country, lands and housing minister Daudi Migereko has announced.
According to the plan, fresh graduates and those still struggling to breakthrough will have an option to either buy or rent the low-cost houses which are to be erected in Kampala and other urban centres across the country.
This is in addition to over 800,000 other housing units to be constructed for low-income earners like teachers and health workers, 2,500 of which at the doctors’ village Mulago.
Migereko said the move is one of the Government’s plans to improve people’s standards of living through curbing the high housing shortage in the country, which currently stands at over 1.6 million housing units.
“We need to help these people to get access to low-cost houses since they are still struggling to make it in life,” Migereko said. “We want many low cost houses so that fresh graduates get where to sleep as they keep looking for jobs.”
The minister made the revelation while officiating at the 30th anniversary celebrations of Habitat Uganda, a charity organisation which builds houses for vulnerable people.
At least 400,000 students graduate each year but reports indicate that only about 150,000 get jobs, leaving an estimated 350,000 jobless and without good accommodation.
Migereko explained that the graduates’ houses will be built by the National Housing and Construction Corporation. However, unlike those on the market currently, the cost of the graduates’ houses will be down.
For instance, he said it would take one sh25m to buy a one-bedroom apartment, sh40m for two bedrooms and sh60m for a three-bedroom apartment.
National housing currently charges over sh160m for a three-bedroom apartment and about sh90m for two bedrooms in its low-cost estates like Namungoona.
The anniversary celebrations were held in Kiryandongo refugee camp where Habitat also handed over 10 houses to the most vulnerable of the 602 victims of the 2010 Bududa landslides.
The Government gave 2.5 acres of land to each of the 602 families who were resettled in Kiryandongo after surviving the 2010 landslides which claimed over 100 lives.
It was also planning to construct a house for each of the families. The project however stalled since December 2011 after constructing only 102 houses, due to lack of funds, compelling other players like Habitat to save the situation.
According to Habitat’s national director Patrick Sambaga,the organisation needs sh1.5b to construct 300 hydraform houses for Bududa victims only. Habitat has built houses for 7,500 families countrywide in its 30 years of existence.
Kiryandongo district chairperson Ben Moru applauded the Government for relocating the Bududa victims to Kiryandongo, saying they were cooperative and peaceful.
The group has also embraced Government development programmes, and are currently earning from farming and animal production, he said.
However, the area woman MP Hellen Kahunde said they needed more schools, water sources and health centres to cater for the high population in the camp.
“There’s only one borehole. Women say that if it breaks down, they don’t bathe or cook and life almost comes to a standstill,” she said.