Faced with criticism for building an entire neighborhood that has been branded as ‘for the rich’ with the cheapest house at more than Rwf60m ($67,000), the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) says it has finalized plans to cater for low income members.
The Board will put up 7,000 new house in Gasogi on the outskirts of Kigali. The price will range between Rwf 10-20m, according to plans shared with the media.
EJO HEZA, a saving scheme launched by government last December targeting all Rwandans of whatever income, will be one of the ways the new RSSB houses can be paid for.
“Prospective house owners will offer their EJO HEZA savings as collateral to get their own home,” said Richard Tusabe, the RSSB Director-General.
Construction begins later this year. Tusabe said as indication the project was serious, land had already been acquired and partners who will carry out the construction and those who will handle the sales, had also been secured.
The Board which handles employee retirement savings, health insurance and maternity leave for mothers – is embroiled in controversy after it constructed the Vision 2020 city – which turned out to be a very costly venture.
Billions of Francs were spent on the project, and billions more in excess expenditure. But the houses which were going for as much as Rwf200m turned out to be a never-have dream for millions of Rwandans who actually needed them most.
Even as the prices have been slashed down by 60%, RSSB finds itself having to repeatedly defend the project.
But all is not as bad as local media keeps reporting, say the Board management.
Other low-cost housing projects have been in the works in different parts of Kigali city. There is UMUCYO Phase 1 and Batsinda phase1 – all in Kigali. Another is Batsinda Phase 2.
Kigali alone needs an estimated 31,000 new housing units annually for some time if every resident is to have a decent place to call home.