A REVISED policy on Public Service Rental Scheme in line with the Mamara project was delayed citing there are important issues needed to be addressed relating to new rental scheme.
This was highlighted by Minister of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration Frederick Kologeto in Parliament when responding to question raised by Opposition Leader Mathew Wale on the progress of work carried out by a taskforce to review the rental scheme in line with Mamara project.
Kologeto said a taskforce headed by the Ministry of Public Service in collaboration with Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration, Ministry of Lands and Housing and Ministry of Finance and Treasury was established to oversee the transition of public servant to Mamara estate.
He said the Public Service had completed a revised policy on public service housing assistant with the intention to financially empower public officers to use housing entitlement to rent and own one of the Solomon Island governments purchased housing available at Mamara.
But the taskforce together with Public Service needed to address important issues relating to new rental scheme in various areas.
The issues are to gauging public servant interest to purchase house at Mamara and dialogue with Inland Revenue on the implication of income tax on the new scheme and dialogue with relevant ministry on the possibilities on regulating housing rental rates.
The other issues are to dialogue with relevant ministries vested with none develop functions right down to the rural community where Solomon Islands government service facilitate and establish a yet with staff accommodation.
Kologeto said with these issues needed to be addressed the key ministries have sort Cabinet approval to delay the revised policy on housing assistant and subsequently it was approved by the cabinet.
However, he said the existing policy on rental scheme is been used as of to date until end of the year.
He said the time frame for the taskforce to look at the four issues raised is expected to be carried by the end of 2022.
“It is important to note that if a public servant can buy a house using other means this is permitted.
“The process is to apply to the Public Service then forward it to the Ministry of Lands and Housing and Ministry of Finance and Treasury to facilitate it,” he said.
The proposal to buy houses at Mamara is still to be approved as the revised policy is still under reviewed to compare financing options for the housing scheme.
On 17th May 2021 the Metropolis Mamara Development Ltd had written to the government to pay $21 million for the first 30 completed houses proposed for the Public Servants Housing Scheme.
By CHARLES KADAMANA
Solomon Star, Honiara