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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Government considering merger of Housing Authority and Public Rental Board

Government is considering whether to merge its two low cost housing institutions, the Housing Authority and the Public Rental Board. An independent study to further evaluate this proposal is to be commissioned by Government after finalising an appropriate terms of reference.

Given the wage and salary earning structure of small developing countries such as Fiji, there appears to be scope for development of institutions that provide low cost housing.

Read more of Government's plans in the following article taken from the Fiji Times, Saturday, 12 May 2007.

"State studies merger of housing bodies, Saturday, May 12, 2007

The roles of the two housing institutions could be redefined under a study being undertaken by the interim Government.

The Ministry of Social Welfare and Housing is looking at the roles of the Public Rental Board and the Housing Authority.

Interim Minister for Housing and Social Welfare Adi Lafitu Malani said there was a need to find out if the institutions were providing affordable housing.

"We are re-looking at the functions of the Housing Authority and PRB in regards to responsible social housing," she said.

"We need to confirm whether they (HA and PRB) are fulfiling their initial objective of providing affordable housing or if there is a need to redefine their objectives."

Housing Authority chief executive officer and former PRB board member Alipate Naiorosui said Cabinet had approved the merger of the two institutions in principle.

"An independent study will have to conducted first," he said "We have been kept in the loop and have assisted the ministry in the terms of reference.

"The ministry was finalising the advertisements so the tender for the study should go out soon."
Mr Naiorosui said the merger could be beneficial for people.

"As CEO housing, I fully support this initiative because it will bring about many benefits for our customers," he said.

"This is nothing new and is done overseas.

"In New Zealand and Singapore such institutions have been merged.

"HA and PRB were separated in 1989, after a World Bank study recommended it."

Mr Naiorosui said the merger would be difficult but good.

"There is a huge demand for low-cost housing and this could be planned well under one roof because we will one data base," he said. "It's not easy but we will assistance from other stakeholders."

Adi Laufitu highlighted problems faced by her ministry in dealing with stakeholders."

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