MASERU – Basotho earning at least M1 800 per month will finally have access to housing loans, thanks to RSB Construction in collaboration with International Trade Forum (ITF) in Lesotho and Standard Lesotho Bank (SLB). Through the initiative 900 000 decent and affordable houses will be built starting this year.
RSB construction has designed a plug and play housing unit that comes with all sustainable requirements including sewage, water and electricity. SLB will be working together will RSB construction as a financial institution.
SLB home loans manager Ezael Makara said the project will respond to the needs of most Basotho who have been struggling to have decent homes due to low income. Makara said SLB will assist Basotho with home loans to ensure that they get access to affordable and decent homes.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Local Government, Kabelo Lethunya, the Director of Local Government, said the project comes at a time when the housing needs stand at up to 98 711 dwellings or 169 706 rooms to be constructed between 2006 and 2020, which translates to 5 195 dwellings or 8 932 rooms to be constructed in a year. These statistics are from a study by the ministry.
She said the Government of Lesotho intends to meet this need by facilitating new housing development indirectly through creation of an enabling environment and directly through participation in the housing construction process through the Lesotho Housing and Land Development Corporation and through joint ventures and partnerships with development partners and private and non-governmental sectors.
“Providing decent, affordable housing is a growing challenge in Lesotho where 70% of households earn less than M1 000 a month. Such low household incomes disqualify them from receiving loans from commercial banks. These households have mainly acquired their plots through savings or loans from relatives and friends.
“The cost of building a formal dwelling and obtaining services is beyond most households in Lesotho therefore the Government of Lesotho is encouraging that dwellings should built in the most efficient way and for the maximum benefit of all concerned,” Lethunya said.
She noted that the national housing policy has formulated strategies to make housing more accessible and affordable in the country. She said the policy emphasises more efficient use of land and it encourages densification within urban areas to ensure densities that will reduce the per capita cost of providing housing and basic services and infrastructure.
Lethunya said the policy further encourages adoption of appropriate construction methods and technologies as such improvements could cut housing construction costs by up to 30% and delivery time by 40 to 50%. She commended RBS Construction for bringing a solution to Lesotho housing challenges and for promoting alternative technologies to housing construction in Lesotho.