Surveys and allotments to be completed by July or August
DCI staff to own homes.
“We want all the surveys and allot-ments to be completed by July or August to submit to the Department of Lands and Physical Planning to certify and award individual titles that will transfer to staff later. By October I would like to negotiate with the bank for loans to build all homes for the department staff and must be a take home Christmas gift for them. ”
A cheer went up among staff mem-bers of the Department of Com-merce and Industry (DCI) assem-bled on April 5 at Duran Farm, Nine Mile when Minister for Com-merce & Industry Hon. Wera Mori uttered the above words.
The staff of DCI and various com-mercial statutory authori-ties under the ministry were gath-ered at the barren spot on the day to witness the ground breaking cere-mony for a housing scheme for staff.
The day was hot and a strong wind blew down the tent put up for the occasion and blew dust into the staff but nobody was fazed.
It had been a long wait and many had spoken of this moment but to witness it was a momentous occa-sion.
The vacant 30 hectare land had been with the depart-ment for 26 years and passed through vari-ous dubious land-grabbers’ hands but at long last the wait is over.
Being out of posses-sion for the last 10 years due to land grab-bing the de-partment was unable to move the project, as stated by the man-aging director for Industrial Centres for Development Corporation (ICDC) Orry Becker. Mr Becker who was the director for the Construction Industry Unit (CIU) of the department at that time realised that the land was taken away and did an investigation on the asset. He said a submission was sent by DCI to Secretary of Lands Department and that was how the land was re-covered.
If the minister’s time line becomes reality the first of some 300 homes will be completed by December 2018.
“It is a dream come true,” NISIT acting Director General, Mr Victor Gabi said, echoing the thoughts of almost everybody gathered at the site.
“Housing is a basic necessity,” he said. “To provide housing is to secure the staff’s commitment and loyalty.”
NISIT is the first CSA to put cash up-front with a contribution of K4 million to kick start the home ownership scheme. For its contribution Minister Mori allocated NISIT 80 allotments. The excitement was palpable and infectious.
Nobody should be left out, Minister Mori assured. “No one should miss out right from the cleaner, driver and up to the top of the structure of the department,” he said. “The onus is now on the divisional heads to make a listing of the sort of staffs they have and their ability to participate in the scheme. We will look at low level housing for those who receive low salaries so that it will be within their affordability, then we will look at the middle class and the top brackets. Shelter is very important, without shelter you cannot do anything.”
Housing is a serious problem faced by public servants through-out the country.
Provid-ing af-fordable and de-cent homes has become suc-cessful gov-ernment’s over-riding mantra across the years but it was the O’Neill Govern-ment that has parked K200 mil-lion with the Bank South Pacific for low cost housing loans to Papua New Guineans.
Even within the department talk of a housing scheme had been going on for over two decades so it was a his-toric occasion to actually witness the ground breaking.
The Construction Industry Unit was commended for the tremendous time and effort put into the housing
DCI Housing scheme’s planning and eventual launch.
Present at the ground breaking cere-mony were heads of the Commer-cial Statutory Authorities (including Small and Medium Enterprise Corporation, ICDC, NISIT and Invest-ment Promo-tion Author-ity), Minis-ter for Hous-ing and Mem-ber for Mores-by North East John Kaupa, and Member for Lagaip Porgera Tomait Kapili, Minis-ter Wera Mori, and the media.
Minister Kaupa launched the ground breaking ceremony that signified the start of the construction work on the 30ha land. Fencing contractor would commence on the 9th of April to fence the entire land.
Minister Mori announced that road works and other amenities like electricity, water, sewerage, drainage and individual blocks must be surveyed and titles given so that the titles can be dis-persed to staff members.
Acting Deputy Secretary (Operations) for DCI Joseph Vutliu urged staff members not to sell their house and land title because that is not what the hous-ing project is all about.
Before the year ends for those who will acquire new homes must not be mon-ey driven and fool-ish enough to sell your houses which are your valua-ble assets for you and your families. Remember that a house is your foundation that will provide you a decent and comfortable life as it is one of our basic necessities of life.