KAMPALA – President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday commissioned the Solana Lifestyle and Residences, National Social Security Fund – NSSF’s Lubowa Housing Project.
Seated on 60 hectares, the project consisting of 306 houses is just 10% of the total land (600 hectares) that the Fund intends to develop at a cost of about half a billion dollars.
Richard Byarugaba, the chief executive officer of the Fund told the guests that launched units, ready for sale at a cost ranging from 150,000-800,000 dollars, cost the Fund 73.3 million dollars.
“I believe that what we have here is the answer to all the problems that this country has ever had with regard to housing.”
He says that the population of Uganda since 1986 that has migrated from the rural areas to urban areas has been more than 10 times which calls for proper housing.
He says that according to statistics, over 50% of Ugandans, by 2050 will actually be living in cities.
Byarugaba says that cities contribute tremendously to the country’s growth, noting that by 2005, only 19% of cities contributed to the GDP but today, the number has increased to 43%.
“That means that there is a lot of wealth being created and we believe that that is the only way that the country will be able to devote.”
He was happy that during the construction, they employed over 1500 and 3200 Ugandans directly and indirectly respectively.
“We’ve given the contracts to Ugandan businesses, $41 million, of the $73.3 million were paid at Ugandan businesses.”
Museveni commended NSSF for saving now a sum of 17 trillion, revealing that when they started it was only 1.2 trillion.
“That’s the effort of combining. Collective saving is very important for everyone including teachers, UPDF, and villagers, they can save and do big things.”
He noted that his government is struggling to get the whole society into a money economy because “when we started by 1969, the households in the money economy were only 04%.”
“By 2013, 68% of the homesteads were still in none monetary GDP and now that figure has gone down to 39%. For the first time, 61% of the people are in the money economy,” he added.
Museveni encouraged citizens to be involved in commercial agriculture or manufacturing either as owners or employees, the ICT sector, but also commercial agriculture in order to fight unemployment and poverty.
NSSF Board Chairman, Peter Kimbowa said that since 2015, the Fund’s Real Estate strategy is to restart and implement to conclusion all real estate projects that had stalled and establish a national footprint with a project in every region in Uganda.
To achieve the strategy, Kimbowa says they embarked on a deliberate plan to ensure that all their housing and commercial projects are implemented by 2025.
“Our guiding torch has always been the return & diversification objectives of the Fund’s investment approach.”
When completed, the Solana Lifestyle and Residences will be the largest project in East Africa, comprising 2,750 residences, that is, apartments, townhouses, bungalows, and villas.