The low-cost housing initiative of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) being implemented with the National Bank of Vanuatu (NBV) on Santo was launched yesterday.
The initiative is being trialed on a land acquired by VNPF in 2013.
Located at Banian area, the land is one of the nonperforming investment of the fund that is now getting revived, said the Director General (DG) of the Ministry of Finance as Chairman of the VNPF Board, Letlet August.
The housing initiative will be trialed firstly on five land plots for VNPF staff before expanding further, he conveyed.
“It is a policy of the government to ensure people have access to quality and affordable housing. VNPF’s initiative is similar to NBV’s low-cost housing concept but more attractive, he added.
The five trial houses should be completed in several months’ time, he said.
NBV’s housing concept is disaster resilient, taking into account the situation of the country where natural disasters like earthquakes and cyclones occur all year round.
In his official address, the Minister of Finance, responsible for VNPF, Johnny Koanapo, said there is a high demand for resilient housing in Vanuatu.
“The National Housing Corporation which was established in 1986 to offer affordable housing to the people has faced many challenges.
“The entity was not able to meet the demands for people,” he stressed.
Minister Koanapo said VNPF’s vision to offer affordable and resilient housing for its members favors the government’s decentralization policy.
“According to the 2016 mini-census report, SANMA Province is ranked second highest after SHEFA in terms of population, with a figure of 54,184.
While this figure will continue to grow through natural birth and migration, it will also drive a rise in demands, he said.
Minister Koanapo commended the VNPF Board and management for including people in the informal sector in its coverage.
He said: “I have been having regular consultations with the VNPF Board. I’m very confident of the financial security of the members’ savings.
“This housing initiative must be able to bring returns.”
Minister Koanapo commended VNPF and NBV for their partnership in implementing the housing project.
He also took the opportunity to declare that the agreement on the transfer of over 60% shares to VNPF will happen soon.