New Plan to make food affordable in cities
The government has set a new housing development supply strategy to be implemented in urban areas. The government announced plans to revise the public housing project and try to find ways to empower people to own homes instead of renting them.
The government has also issued a new policy that excludes three bedroom condominiums from the 20/80 housing scheme based on a new urban strategy.
A national dialogue forum on urban agendas was held for three days at the Economic Commission for Africa. The forum was chaired by PM Hailemariam Desalegn and included high government officials and policy makers.
Many people applied for the 20/80 three bedroom scheme but the trend that occurred during the previous housing program indicated that lucky condo winners were unable to settle their appropriate monthly payment with the banks.
“We are responsible for explaining to the public what kind of burden they are taking on when they register for three bedrooms. And we are responsible to reduce the amount of people who registered for three bedrooms on the 20/80 scheme and encourage them to switch to lower schemes, because the majority are not paying the necessary amount,” the PM said.
“We had applied the housing scheme without strong preparation. We are working to rectify the problems that were seen after the implementation of the new housing scheme,” he said. The government has now formed a strong federal committee to follow the rectification.
The majority of the urban population is living at a lower economic level, but when we commenced the housing registration the number of people who were included in the 10/90 scheme was very small. But this community that does not have the capacity to save an adequate amount is registered under the 20/80, three bedrooms scheme. But it is difficult practically because this community will not be able to pay the significant amount if they get the house.
“Miscommunication and lack of understanding have been happening with this program and that is why the number of people who registered under the 10/90 is very few. We have to work strongly to explain and clarify to the community so they understand the scheme and take part in the program that is affordable,” he said.
The 10/90 housing is a scheme that is provided with high government subsidy for the community who is considered unable to participate in the 20/80 and 40/60 scheme. But only a little over 23,000 people registered for the 10/90 scheme.
The government has also issued a construction industry policy that will be a strategy to the sector activity as a bench mark.
Food affordable in cities
The government is drafting an urban developmental safety net strategy to reduce poverty in cities.
The final draft of the strategy stated that the aim of the plan is to eliminate food insecurity and reduce the poverty line by 75 percent in the urban areas.
A decade ago the government implemented a safety net program mainly in rural arid areas to combat rural poverty and to empower the people living in those areas. The 67 page strategy document gave the details of the program, which has a goal of expanding entrepreneurship to secure the food.
The strategy has set a goal to achieve in the coming period.
According to the document, in the coming five years 90 percent of unemployed, voluntary unemployed and citizens that are affected by food security problems in the towns that have over 20,000 people will be back to work, and to provide social security service for ten percent of the dwellers that have the ability to work. Both actions will contribute to reducing the poverty line by 75 percent.
To meet the target the government is moving in several directions including creating new jobs, which aims to expand the existing small scale enterprise experience with the trend of other countries mainly the experience of Brazil.
The other strategy is to strengthen the relationship between urban to rural communities and cities with other urban areas. This will expand market links. The document also stated that a modern food supply and market system from rural to urban areas free from middlemen is another way of making food prices more affordable.
For the implementation of the new scheme the Urban Development, Housing and Construction Ministry will be the responsible body to follow the strategy by drafting and following several legal rules. According to the draft, a high unemployment rate exists in urban areas, which is 21.4 percent based on data from two years ago, the main reason for low incomes in towns. It stated that a huge number of urban people are living with inconsistent jobs that have also contributed to the urban population leading a life with a lower income.
The majority of families in urban areas are spending 50 percent of their income on food and other expenses. Based on a three year old study 29.6 percent of the population is living under the poverty line, which makes it difficult to ensure food security.
More people are moving to urban areas and the birth rate is also climbing. However job creation has not kept up with demand. Due to that it is difficult for urban residents to earn enough money to be able to afford enough food to meet the recommended calorie consumption to maintain health, which is 2,200 per day.
In addition to that the per capita income of about 29 percent of the population is below the average, which shows that several dwellers are living in the poverty circle. According to the Central Statistics Agency (CSA) 2010/11 data, the number of population below poverty in urban areas is 25.7 percent.
To combat the problem the government needed to come up with an organized solution. Expanding small scale enterprises should play a vital role to eliminate the challenge.
Begging and street life that comes with it along with misconception and other social and economic problems including prostitution are other major challenges urban areas face. According to different studies over 100,000 women are working the streets of Addis Ababa’s sex industry. This is considered to be a major health challenge to productive citizens and increases the number of dependents.
The numbers of voluntary unemployed, who have given up looking for a job, are also contributing to poverty in the urban areas. These people often seek work in other countries, taking jobs that people in those countries don’t want to do. There are also people with mental health difficulties, disabilities and addictions, that require support in order to become self sufficient. The urban population has reached 16.7 million, based on this year’s data, and it is expected to grow by 4.3 percent every year. The CSA report states that the urban population will continue to grow rapidly.
In the past decade the government has implemented a strategy to enable the urban community to get involved in different small scale enterprises. Yet, the deepest problems in food security in urban areas have still not fully been solved.
Lack of sufficient job opportunities, low and inconsistent income, lack of housing, factories and shopping facilities, migration from rural to urban areas, are some of the challenges faced by urban dwellers.