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MPs unimpressed with NASSIT housing scheme

…as they end provincial tour on affordable housing

November 10, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura

Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Industrial Relations have ended a ten days tour of Bo, Kenema and Bombali districts respectively to assess the management of the affordable housing investment by the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT).

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Dr. Foday Suma, said their visit to the districts was to ascertain whether the housing structures and shopping plazas constructed by NASSIT are in good shape and that good returns are guaranteed at the end of every payment received from tenants.

He said NASSIT is an important institution in the country, which requires them to be investing on housing that will suit the average Sierra Leonean.

“The number of rooms or shops that were empty at the Kenema shopping plaza calls for concern and it is worrisome because it is the people’s money,” said Hon. Suma. “The rental fee is exorbitant for one shop and I think there should be consideration as this could be the reason why people are leaving the shops to go to the street and sell.”

Also, the committee’s Deputy Chairman, Hon. Dauda Kallon, said the materials used to decorate the toilets and other areas at the Bo shopping plaza are substandard, noting: “Standard materials should have been used as lots of funds had been spent on it. The pricing market should be assessed before prices are issued for the plaza.”

On his part, Hon. Roland F. Kargbo described the NASSIT investment as “a waste of resources” as most of the houses are empty with some broken apart because people are not living in them.

“The investments by NASSIT are depreciating. The locations where the houses are built are too far from the cities and vehicles find it difficult to locate the areas,” he noted.

Responding, NASSIT Engineer, Gerald Coker, said the affordable housing in Bo is being rented by MSF officials since their arrival in the country, paying US$6,000 for each house per annum, while in the case of Kenema, the City Council is currently in negotiation to rent the property.

He assured that the materials that are deemed to be substandard will be changed as recommended by the committee members, while informing them that the transport terminal in Makeni was launched two years ago but is yet to be rented out due to the pricing market.

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