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Over 90% of houses in South Sudan are grass-thatched, mud huts

April 28, 2013 (JUBA) – The latest data revealed by the South Sudan’s ministry of housing and physical planning has indicated that 93% of the so-called privately owned houses in the new country are made of grass-thatched or mud huts, popularly known as tukuls.

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A young woman gives finishing touches to her Tukul in Twic county, Warrap State (UNMISS)

The fact, according to the ministry, needs generation of mechanisms to address the severe challenging situation in the housing sector in the country, such as establishment of a bank to facilitate building of “decent houses” by citizens through mortgage system.

Despite the fact that individuals and families in South Sudan own those huts and the lands they are built on, the populations continue to live below the world standard in housing as the nation has not yet taken giant steps in fulfilling the constitutional rights of citizens to live in decent houses.

The minister of housing and physical planning, Jemma Nunu Kumba, on Friday presented a memo to the cabinet, which approved establishment of Housing Finance Bank, with the initial capital of $200 million on a public-private-partnership (PPP) basis.

The government, through its newly established Housing Development Corporation, will have a share of 20% in partnership with the local private sector, 31% share, and foreign investors, 49%.

The official spokesman of the government, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, told the press after the Friday resolution that the mortgage system will help citizens build concrete houses for themselves.

Public clients or officials of the government would be given up to 15-years period to repay the loan, and the arrangement can be made through employees’ respective work places.

Currently, only few foreign banks such as Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) offer limited loans to home builders while charging high interest and a period of about 3-years within which a borrower is expected to repay the whole loan.

The Housing Finance Bank will enter into an agreement with private developers to construct various classes of houses in all the ten states for purchase by government employees and the general public.

The new strategy is required to ensure creation of real estate development sector whose role will be set to provide the necessary housing stock for feeding the mortgage market in South Sudan.

The SPLM-led government has been struggling to implement its policy of “taking towns to the people” in the rural areas for the last eight years.

(ST)