The government's plan to purchase houses and apartments for senior civil servants — that could give a new lease of life to the cash strapped housing sector — is moving at a snail's pace.
"Some 10 housing companies have listed themselves within the deadline," according to chief division engineer of Building Construction and Maintenance Division Office Kumar Ghimire. The division had asked the housing companies to list themselves with the government on January 23-February 6 for record keeping.
The listing of 10 housing companies was for only record keeping purposes, he said, adding that the Ministry of Urban Development has to give the division a green signal and also the budget to purchase housing units and apartments.
The Building Construction and Maintenance Division Office will call for a bid immediately after it gets a green signal for the purchase from the ministry, Ghimire added.
According to the president of Nepal Land and Housing Developers' Association (NLHDA) Ichha Raj Tamang, the companies that are still in the business have listed themselves for the government record keeping purpose and are waiting for a call for the bid. "Most of the housing companies had either been closed or went bust due to cash crunch in the market in last couple of years."
Earlier, the government had decided to purchase some 88 units — 66 units of apartments and 22 units of houses — for secretaries and judges.
The government had decided to buy 22 units of houses for judges and 66 units of apartments for secretaries and had been preparing procurement procedures that will finalise the location and basic criteria.
The move, that is expected to boost public confidence in the sector, will probably take some more time also due to the budget crunch in the ministry.
The association has been asking the government to allow all civil servants to buy houses or apartments of their choice with a long-term EMI plan that will push not only the housing sector — that is currently stagnant — ahead from the current bottom levels to a recovery stage, but also generate employment and boost economic activities.
The High Level Financial Sector Coordination Committee meeting had decided to form a committee to conduct a comprehensive study on the plausibility of purchasing housing units and apartments with soft loans for civil servants, special class officials and chiefs of constitutional bodies last January.
The committee comprises of central bank deputy governor, director general of Department of Housing and Urban Development, administrator of Employees Provident Fund, president of Nepal Bankers' Association, president of NLHDA, and executive director of Citizens Investment Trust.