Upgrade settlements to address accommodation issues: Barker


Settlements must be upgraded to meet the growing demand for accommodation in the National Capital District, Institute of National Affairs executive-director Paul Barker, says.
He said that urbanisation had been happening at a high rate and the Government must start upgrading, facilitating and developing settlements in the city to meet the high demand for accommodation.
Barker said that the high cost of living and high rent had contributed to poverty in the urban centres.
“A large portion of the working population and their dependants, including public servants, now live in settlements because they are not able to afford the high rates of rental in the city,” he said.
“So the Government should start facilitating the upgrading of settlements rather than brutally destroying them.”
Barker said that the authorities needed to start recognising their responsibilities and not demonise settlements, but work with them in upgrading the settlements.
“It is the State’s responsibility in providing better provision of public housing,” he said.
“Government can’t just regulate prices of rents for private property owners.
“It has to make more housing available in order to decrease the high rental rates.”
Barker said that it was about bringing equilibrium to the demand and supply for housing and one way of doing that was developing settlements.

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