Fund to invest US$400mn dollars in Ugandan housing estate

Kampala Uganda housingUganda's National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has unveiled a master plan to construct a landmark housing estate estimated to cost US$400mn dollars, which will attempt to meet the ever-rising demand for houses in the East African country

The real estate construction project will be spread over a ten-year period and will be developed on the fund's 565 acres of land at Lubowa, along the Kampala-Entebbe highway, and will aim to become one of the most upmarket housing estates in Uganda.

NSSF managing director Richard Byarugaba said, "This project is in line with the real estate investment strategy of the fund. It is planned as a mixed-use development with residential housing and commercial facilities including office parks, retail units, a school, a hospital and a hotel.

"The housing units that will be constructed will include apartments, townhouses, bungalows and villas, which will be suitable for middle and high income earners."

According to the NSSF, the 2,741 residential unit development will also give its members competitive returns on their savings. Byarugaba said that the houses would be sold on the open market to both fund members and the general public.

Byarugaba added that construction for phase one of the project will start in the latter half of next year after procurement of the contractors, which will commence early next year. The fund will make an initial investment for phase one, after which the project will be self-financing.

"The NSSF Lubowa Housing Project will not only deliver an environmentally-friendly and modern estate with associated social amenities, but will also make a major contribution to the reduction of the housing deficit currently faced by the country," the official noted, adding that the project would be expected to increase the fund's investment portfolio.

The housing project, to be implemented in 10 phases, has already been approved by the fund's board and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, while the project's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is currently undergoing the final stages of approval by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).

The development will be expected to help accommodate the growing number of people in need of houses. Official figures have indicated that shortage of houses in Kampala stands at 100,000 and 550,000 across the country.

NSSF is a national saving scheme mandated by government to provide social security services to employees in Uganda and invests some of the workers savings into profitable ventures.

Over the last few years, the fund has doubled its assets from 1.7 trillion shillings (US$700mn) in the 2010/2011 financial year to 3.4 trillion shillings (US$1.4bn) in the 2012/13 financial year. The fund can boast of 2.8 trillion shillings (US$1.3bn) that is currently in fixed income securities, while real estate investments accounting for 12 per cent.

Geoffrey Muleme

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