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Seychelles to introduce new plan to ease land and housing problems

Victoria, Seychelles | March 14, 2017, Tuesday @ 13:47 in National » GENERAL | By: Salifa Magnan and Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 6309
Seychelles to introduce new plan to ease land and housing problems

File Photo: Ile Perseverance -- a reclaimed island next to Mahe, has the largest social housing project undertaken by the Seychelles government. (Glenn Pilay, Seychelles News Agency)

Photo license  

(Seychelles News Agency) - A new point system will be introduced in April by the Seychelles’ Ministry of Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport to better process and deal with the high demand for land and houses.

The statement was made by Minister Charles Bastienne during a press conference on Friday. Bastienne gave details about a new comprehensive land and housing plan announced by President Danny Faure during his State of the Nation Address in February.

“The point system will drive the whole process within which there will be minimal interference from individuals. Your points will guide us on how to channel your need,” said Bastienne.

The minister said that “people need to be assisted according to their need and pay according to their mean,” and that it will be the point a person scores that will determine their position on the land or housing list.

Charles Bastienne -- the Minister for Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport gave details on the point system that will drive the land and housing process. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

During the press conference, it was outlined that land will be sold with a 30-year lease and a buyer will have a 5-year period to build their house.

“If after five years the house has not been constructed, then your lease becomes void and the government reacquires the land and reallocates it to someone who needs it,” said Bastienne.

The minister explained that this will prevent the current bad practice of people not developing the government-bought land or selling it at higher prices on the private market.

Bastienne also said that the government will put in place a new policy whereby deadlines will be given.

“Nowadays when someone is assisted they are not told exactly when they will be assisted. We will put in place an internal system which will be joined to our construction program and by doing this, we will be able to tell you when you will be assisted,” said Bastienne.

The ministry is working on a classification system whereby applicants will receive assistance in regards to their income.

The government is also looking to venture into Public Private Partnership (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

“People with an income of less than 10,000 rupees ($743) after having paid their pension and taxes will get the fully applicable discount of 23 percent of the construction cost. People with an income of over 20,000 ($1486) will not benefit from a discount,” said Bastienne.

Applicants earning between 10,000 and 13,000 rupees will be means tested whereas those between 13,000 and 20,000 will have half of the 23 percent discount.

This system will also be used for the rate of repayment --- depending on someone’s income a person will pay between 20 to 30 percent of their salary compared to the banks repayment of 35 to 40 percent.

The government is also looking to venture into Public Private Partnership (PPP) and the minister said that this is very important for the realisation of the housing program.

“We want to come up with different projects under PPP but we are still waiting for the legal framework to be established,” said Bastienne.

To help deal with housing problem in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, the government is encouraging the private sector not only to build high-end condominium but to also help with social housing.

Additionally, the  government is working on ways to reduce the construction cost.

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Tags: Ministry of Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport, State of the Nation Address, Public Private Partnership

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