Different approach needed in housing issue, says Abe

National, Normal


THE enormous scale of the housing problem in Papua New Guinea dwarfs those in other countries and requires a paradigm shift in the thinking and taking a completely different approach to that being currently pursued.
Chief executive officer of Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) Thomas Abe said this in the final report on housing and real estate review which was presented to Minister for Finance and Treasury Patrick Pruaitch yesterday.
Mr Abe said housing in PNG was in crisis and needed urgent Government attention through a reform package.
“The scale of housing problem has reached crisis proportions – more than 40 % of people live on less than one US dollar a day,” he said adding that to adopt approaches to the issue by developed countries to PNG will not work as the scale of the problems in those countries, their stage of economic development and their business environments were largely different.
He pointed out the potential for growth of the housing sector which would diversify the economy as a new contributor and generate employment, savings and investment to raise living standards if the package of reforms was implemented.
He said the commission had considered various studies on housing, the current land reform initiatives and the feedback from consultations it had undertaken.
“The outcome sought to be achieved was governed by the principle of the ‘greatest good of the greatest number’ which provides housing for as many Papua New Guineans as possible rather than giving weight to sectional interests which would be inequitable for ordinary citizens.”
Mr Abe said the final report contained the commission’s final views on the housing and real estate industry and recommendations of a reform package aimed at improving supply and making houses more affordable to ordinary PNG citizens. 
He said the report describes constrains on the development of the housing sector as being largely attributed to “piecemeal’ and sometime contradictory, attempts to address the symptoms rather than the cause of the malaise which benefited some sections of the society at the expense of others and have been implemented inefficiently.