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NHC tenants demand housing 'offer'

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by BabuK, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. BabuK

    BabuK JF-Expert Member

    Jun 2, 2011
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    Wrong way to acquire public property, says DG

    NHC Director General Nehemiah Mchechu

    A fierce storm of sorts is threatening to hit National Housing Corporation houses in the posh Upanga segment of down town Dar es Salaam with a vengeance, with tenants fighting hard to take over as the new owners, The Guardian has confirmed.

    The state-run agency is however not impressed and has vowed to fight back “with the full force of the law” under which it was established to ensure that not even a single room ends up in private hands without following laid down procedures.

    NHC Director General Nehemiah Mchechu told journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday that all their buildings and other assets are public property and ought to serve the best interests of Tanzanians as a nation and not otherwise.

    It has meanwhile been learnt on good authority that Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development minister Prof Anna Tuibaijuka will on Saturday have a joint meeting with members of the NHC’s top management team and the corporation’s tenants in the city - or their representatives - at which the matter is expected to be discussed at length.

    The principal item on the agenda will be the tenants’ requests, one being that they be allowed to buy the houses preferably at a substantial discount. They argue that they have occupied the houses for very long and have therefore paid the corporation a handsome amount of money in rent and, after all, there was no problem when the government sold some of its houses to senior civil servants several years ago.

    The tenants, most of them believed to be retired or soon-retiring public service employees, also argue that they merit “favourable consideration” in that they have lost the ability to engage in work that would guarantee them a decent life and the houses could therefore support in the form of rent.

    NHC will not have any of that, though, with DG Mchechu saying: “it will be absolutely wrong, unacceptable and indefensible to let public property benefit a few individuals when it is possible to make it stand millions of Tanzanians in good stead”.

    “As far as we (NHC) are concerned, the Upanga houses in question are for all intents and purposes plots on prime land we have already lined up for development into an estate of modern apartment buildings to accommodate hundreds of times more people than the handful now occupying the houses,” he said.

    “Some crafty individuals have turned some NHC houses into goldmines benefiting them at the expense of tens of millions of other Tanzanians,” he noted, adding: “Some tenants unlawfully sublet the houses at a much higher rent than the amount they themselves pay in rent, while others have turned them into virtual godowns or abandoned them for long periods without reporting the matter to us.”

    The DG expressed worry that the furor over the Upanga houses could throw NHC’s vastly ambitious 2010/11-2014/15 plan off balance, unless the government side with the corporation and explored alternative ways of helping tenants genuinely in urgent need of own houses.

    He meanwhile wondered why the tenants were demanding special consideration in respect of public utilities and services “NHC holds in trust on behalf of all Tanzanians”, adding: “The analogy relating to the reported sale of government houses is irrelevant here because the tenants seeking ownership of NHC houses are not even NHC employees.”

    Mchechu said it was illogical for a single family to selfishly occupy a whole half-acre plot while millions of other people lived in unplanned areas, elaborating: “NHC has between 200 and 300 apartment blocks in prime areas in Dar es Salaam housing a mere 2,500 families, when implementation of our plans would see over 100,000 families comfortably accommodated.”

    He said all Tanzanians had the right to lead decent lives, which the NHC plans to seek to guarantee by improving urban planning and enabling even low-income earners to live in standard houses.

    On a more conciliatory note, he called on NHC tenants intending to buy the houses “to exercise patience, stop worrying and give us time to see how to help them alongside the 99.5 per cent or so of the Tanzanian population we don’t reach”.

    Tenants Association Special Committee chairman Mjengi Gwao said when reached for comment yesterday that NHC tenants throughout Tanzania have officially asked the corporation to let them buy the houses they are occupying.

    “Yes, I am one of those seeking to buy NHC houses. It is not only retired civil servants now occupying the houses, but many more people from various quarters,” he said in a telephone interview.

    He refused to give more details on the matter, instead asking The Guardian to make an appointment with him “so that I can show you some documents relating to this issue”.

    In one of documents this paper has come across is a June 18, 2010 letter in which NHC tenants in Ilala District request the NHC Board to sell houses to them basing on the Companies Act as passed by the National Assembly on May 1, 2009.

    “We want NHC to be fully involved in the process to ensure equity. Our worry is that some dishonest NHC employees might sell the houses to foreigners illegally”, reads part of the letter.

    It recommends that tenants who have stayed in NHC apartments for over ten years while paying rental fees be automatically given ownership, and advises the government to set up a Tanzania Rents and Building Materials Regulatory Authority.

    Lands, Housing and Human Settlements minister Prof Anna Tibaijuka meanwhile said when contacted yesterday that the government’s intention is to help people get houses at low prices through mortgage financing.

    “The government is working on a mechanism to enable retired civil servants to get houses under the mortgage system as some don’t have the money they would need to buy themselves houses,” she noted.

    Opening a recent meeting of the NHC workers’ council in Dar es Salaam, the minister cautioned the corporation against tolerating tenants purposely refusing to pay rent “because the money collected will help NHC to provide better services, including building more houses to meet people’s needs”.

    She said Tanzania has a shortage of 3 million houses, “which is a reason enough for the state-owned corporation to expedite construction by using its strategic plans to build houses affordable to low and middle-income earners”.

  2. Anfaal

    Anfaal JF-Expert Member

    Jun 2, 2011
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    Watanzania bwana, kila mtu anawaza kufisadi.
  3. Bujibuji

    Bujibuji JF-Expert Member

    Jun 2, 2011
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    Wahindi wanataka nyumba eti kisa wamekaa muda mrefu.
    Watanzania tuamke, tunafikuzwa hivyo kinyemela nchini mwetu wenyewe