Govt housing initiative fails

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A MULTI-million kina government housing project launched three years ago has failed to progress because proper development procedures were not followed, it has been revealed.
National Research Institute Senior Research Fellow Professor Eugene Ezebilo told officials from various State agencies during a meeting yesterday that the Duran Farm Housing project, with an initial funding of K15.5mil, was an example of the Government’s housing initiative which failed to follow procedures of orderly development.
The National Housing Corporation is overseeing the project. The plan is to sell the houses when completed to public servants and the general public as part of efforts to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing in the capital city. The anomalies were discovered during visits to Duran Farm by researchers from the NRI in October last year and February this year.
Ezebilo said for an orderly development to take place, trunk infrastructure must be established prior to houses being constructed.
Trunk infrastructure includes portable pipe-borne water supply, roads, sewerage and electricity.
Their study on the Duran Farm project concluded that:

  • There was lack of trunk infrastructure;
  • Some houses were completed but yet to be occupied;
  • The cost of homes was too high which public servants might not be able to afford;
  • The situation at Duran is costly to the State, the building contractors and the people.

Housing Minister John Kaupa told The National in August that the housing project was being put on hold so that proper planning could be conducted by State agencies.
“Duran Farm is a big project in the city, but there had been no proper planning,” he said.
“There are about 48 houses but some of them enclosed into the road access. I put a stop on that project so that my urbanisation department can go into proper planning of the area in conjunction with the NCDC planning division, Lands Department and all relevant agencies to ensure proper planning of the project.”
Further Government funding into the project was withheld last year because no acquittals had been made on the initial K15 million.
NHC acting managing director Ditha Nayabbanung told The National earlier that PNG Power and Eda Ranu were already installing services which were overlooked because of the lack of funding. He said it had stalled the progress of the 2500-plus housing allotments for almost two years. But he said the trunk infrastructure was the basic requirement before the construction of houses by five contractors approved by National Executive Council.
Recently, the project steering committee from the Department of National Planning and Monitoring led by team leader Salva Jambakau, visited Duran Farm to inspect the work progress.