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Housing project offers hope for Tanzanian artists

15th March 2012
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Some houses nearing completion at the Mkuranga-based housing project for artists.

Construction of 1,000 housing units for low income earners in Mkuranga District, Coast Region, has begun to bear fruit after the completion of five houses out of the 180 planned for early this year.

The project is being carried out by members of the Federation of Artists Tanzania (SHIWATA) and low-income journalists.

To start with the project would put up 1,000 units out of the earmarked 2,500 units which owned by the Federation. The federation members acquired land f in some villages in Mkuranga Dstrict.

They started by registering land or farms at the local government level where each member paid 10,000/-.

Every member of the Federation was required to register his or her piece of land with responsible district authorities for 50,000/- plus other expenses.

Many people were unaware that Shiwata was meant for only artists although the project would involve various people, including soccer players, journalists and other low-income earners.

The Federation chairman Cassim Talib says after following necessary procedures a member is allowed to build a house or develop the land for agriculture and cattle rearing.

He says because of the big number of members estimated at 2,500, “we intend to look for external support which would enable us to construct a member’s house for 6.4m/-.”

Other houses cost 7.3m/- and members are free to build a house of their liking depending on their monthly earnings.

According to Talib, all houses have similar size as the federation will build three rooms, a veranda, latrine and fixing tiles while the owner would be required to fix doors, windows and furniture..

Up to moment five houses out of 180 currently on construction at Mwanzega village have been completed and the rest will be ready at the end of this month.

Construction of those houses is under supervision of National Housing and Building Research Agency (NHBRA) in collaboration with the Ministry Lands Housing and Human Settlement Development.

The agency provides services to both public and private sector clients and undertakes specific tasks in support of varying policies of government in housing, urban renewal, and other construction related activities.

The company also undertakes projects on an entirely commercial basis either on its own or on a joint venture basis with local authorities and private developers

“Before kick of the project, some officials of NHBRA came to our office and train members on brick and tiles making. Some members have produced bricks and tiles without any supervision,” Talib says.

He explains that construction of the houses is solely done under member’s contribution and they did not receive any support from outside.

He sats the project was raised after a research done which showed that the annual income of artists does not exceed 5m/-.

He says recently a delegation from the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports visited the housing project which would be completed in 2015.

“Until now we have completed five houses which costs 31.9m/- and two of them have already been handed to its owners who are Josephine Joseph and Flora Kafwembe who had fulfilled all requirements,” he adds.

However due to an increase in construction costs, other members will have to dig more into their pockets.

Speaking at different occasions after they were handed over their houses, Josephine and Flora said their long time dreams have come true. They urged fellow members to speed up their contribution so that they own houses.

“Personally I thought the process would take much time, thanks to God who directed me to reach my dreams,” says Josephine after received her house.

She could not believe if the dreams were true and promised to motivate fellow members in paying their contributions.

For her part, Flora says she believed that the project would succeed that is why she insisted on paying contributions.

“Tanzanians now have to change their minds and believe that they can own houses through contributions,” she adds.

The director of Culture in the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, Prof. Herman Mwansoko, hailed the project saying it would assist many artists urging them to increase the speed of contribution.

For her part, the chairperson of Tanzania Film Board Rose Sayore, which her board is affiliated to Shiwata say start of the project and completion of five houses, is the beginning of decent houses for artists.

Most of us know that this is small project, now we have realized that it is a big one and would benefit more artists

The Mkuranga District Administrative Secretary, Joyce Nampesya, urged artists to make their contributions as agreed in order to complete the exercise on time and own houses.

Real Estate experts say the Tanzania construction sector continues to be one of the most exciting sectors in the Tanzanian economy.

The sector is currently experiencing a period of growth primarily driven by the recent developments in the roadwork, housing and mining industries.

Statistics show the growth rate of the sector now stands at between 12 to 15 percent and its contribution to the GDP has increased significantly.

The government is looking to continue making gains in the construction sector and is hoping to repeat and improve upon the recent gains made by the sector.

The combined sectors of works infrastructure, transport and communications are paramount to the process of development and poverty reduction within Tanzania.

The effectiveness of these sectors directly contributes to the creation of economic opportunities such as the ease of market access; increased competition; encouragement to trade, tourism and foreign investment; contribution to government revenue and increased employment opportunities.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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