Housing Facing Shake-Up

16th August, 2017
Source: The National

THE eviction of tenants and sale of State housing properties have been put on hold while an audit is conducted into two government agencies entrusted with providing affordable housing to the people.

Minister for Housing and Urbanisation John Kaupa has ordered a major clean-up in the National Housing Corporation and the National Housing Estates Limited, starting with the audit to be conducted by the auditor-general.

“No more eviction orders to be carried out and no more sale of (NHC) properties,” he said.
“I am not here to hire and fire anyone. I want to make sure there are structures that support the initial notion of providing affordable housing for Papua New Guineans. We must be compatible in the market as well,” Kaupa said.
Kaupa said there were court cases pending against the NHC, and many investigations on-going which warranted the scanning of and adjustments to the institutions.
He said the NHC, NHEL and the Office of Urbanisation were formed to provide ordinary citizens working in urban areas affordable housing. But over the past decade, they had come under scrutiny “more than any other government institution”.
He put this down to “negligence, lack of prudent management and incompetency in the ability to deliver honestly” as the root causes of the problems.
Kaupa said auditors would be engaged to clean up and restructure the housing organisations.

“The Office of the Auditor-General will deal with the cleaning up of housing and NHEL,” he said.

Kaupa said work would continue during the audit. “NHC is obliged to build affordable housing for Papua New Guineans but over the years, they have not built one,” he said.
“Rather they have been doing the opposite by selling the properties.
“Almost 70 per cent of property around the country have been sold to maintain the corporation’s salaries and operations.”

He warned that NHEL would go back under NHC “if it hasn’t been functioning properly”.
Kaupa said the NHEL had been engaged in huge projects around the country and he wanted a report on those projects.

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