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September 22, 2023
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Kenneth Kaijuka – Cost of construction compounding housing deficit

Housing experts are asking the government to regulate and allocate sizable funding to the housing sector if the housing deficit is to reduce. Uganda currently has a housing deficit of 2.4 million. Experts now warn that if nothing is done, the housing deficit can stretch up to 7 million.

Uganda’s real estate sector has grown over the years, but owning a house remains a big dream for many. This has bred a shortage of housing units to shelter Uganda’s growing population.

Official figures from the Uganda Bureau of statistics indicate that the country has 9 million housing units with a population of 42 million people. This means that each housing unit must accommodate 5 people. But unfortunately, some accommodate more than 10 people in one household.

To experts, Uganda’s housing deficit can be explained using cross-references ranging from commercial, residential, industrial workers residentials and factories and institutional to include schools and markets. The residential housing deficit according to Engineer Kenneth Kaijuka, the CEO of the National housing company, should be viewed from housing quality.

“This has got to be premised on non the standard housing has no one size fits all, and design that we can base on to say but according to the national housing policy it clearly peaks to the categories of houses and as a developing economy, we out to look at the transition.  So any house that doesn’t show the ability to last 50 years plus, cant counted as a house if you scale it to 50yrs, the housing deficit is 7 million, if we if you scale it to 25 years 5 million units .So the 2.4 million is based on the lowest scale. Of the housing standard given that After All everyone has a house to sleep in at night.”

Currently Uganda seems not to have a yardstick for quality housing, raising concerns as to whether the country is on course to realizing quality and affordable housing.

“I will say no, we are not on course to bridge the housing deficit, simply because individual build houses, take an example of Nakasero if you looked at those houses now… they wouldn’t be up to standards, so it’s Kujenga nakubomowa, build demolish gain one, demolish two.”

The typical urban problems like floods, theft, traffic jam all find root in housing and to alleviate these, Kaijuka says it takes more than finances to reduce the housing deficit.

“We should be looking at how do we bring housing on the table? Prioritize housing as a key strategy, streamline, regulate and fund the housing sector, that way you reduce the danger.)

The Ugandan Government and the private sector have put several initiatives to address the Housing deficit that include Social Housing, Slum upgrade and slum re-development and partnerships with Commercial Banks among other interventions.

“In the past we had a wider mandate, to date, it sits with us, but under a limited liability framework. And our interests now are purely commercial to return a dividend to the shareholder.”

The current contribution of housing to Uganda’s GDP is estimated at an annual average of 5% over the last decade with the largest part of that accruing to the construction.

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