PORT MORESBY: NCD Governor Hon. Powes Parkop has taken the National Government, through the National Housing Corporation (NHC) and the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, to task over unlocking unused land tenures around the country.
Commenting on the Maiden Speech on the affairs of NHC presented by Minister Dr Kobby Bomareo in Parliament today (Tuesday), Governor Parkop said our people possess the financial capacity to build their decent homes, but the availability of land is inadequate.
"Lack of security of tenure is contributing to lots of unplanned and poor development in our towns and cities country-wide," he said.
He said unplanned developments at settlements in NCD and other urban centres of our country are a testament to this major national problem.
He, however, pointed out a number of options which could solve the national housing and settlement problem, including granting our people security of tenure to the land.
He told Parliament that he built his own five-bedroom house at Taurama Beach while mortgaging his Gerehu property. Many other Papua New Guineans have done the same due to the security of tenure offered by the customary landowners.
Governor Parkop stated that housing is a basic human right.
Since Independence, he said, NHC has stopped investing in creating new suburbs with housing development.
He added that the current suburbs in Gerehu, Rainbow, Waigani, Hohola, Korobosea, Tokarara, and East Boroko were developed during the pre-independence era.
As the population grows and the city expands, Governor Parkop said vacant State lands must be freed up to settlers, public servants, individuals, and corporate citizens with the financial capacity to develop them.
Idle land means a loss of revenue for PNG Power Limited, Water PNG, the Lands Department, and NCDC; he raised a concern.
Governor Parkop invited fellow MPs to 9-Mile Rouna Quarry, where his Settlement Upgrade Project was piloted.
He said without complaining; he provided solutions to ending settlements while providing land to the people for affordable, decent homes.
He said that NCDC does not have powers over land matters, so it only builds new roads to free up land while increasing its monetary value.
Governor Parkop also called on NHC and other housing developers to partner with NCDC and other utility service providers to invest in roads, power, water, and sewerage to make house prices affordable.
The Singaporean Malaysia, Ethiopia or Moroccan model, he said, for public housing should be considered in the country.
He proposed that investments must be made in apartments due to land shortage in the urban cities.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. John Rosso commended Governor Parkop and Moresby North-East MP Hon. John Kaupa for being solution-oriented leaders in the housing and lands space.