Government rental taskforce to complete work by year end.

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THE Public Service Rental Scheme taskforce will complete their work at the end of this year.

The taskforce was established to oversee the transition of public servants to the Mamara Estate jointly by the Ministry of Public Service, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey, MCILI and Ministry of Finance and Treasury.

The Taskforce is headed by the Ministry of Public Service.

Minister of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration, Fredrick Kologeto explained this when asked by Leader of Opposition, Matthew Wale in Parliament on Wednesday.

Kologeto said Public Service had completed a revised policy on Public Service Housing Assistance (PSHA) with the intention to financially empower public officers to use housing entitlements to rent to own one of the Solomon Islands Government purchased housing available at Mamara.

He said the Taskforce together with the Public Service needed to address important issues relating to the new rental scheme in various areas:

  1. to gauging public servants’ interest to purchase house at Mamara
  2. to dialogue with Inland Revenue Divsion on the implications of income tax on the new scheme
  3. to dialogue with relevant ministries on the possibilities of regulating housing rental rates
  4. dialogue with relevant ministries vested with non-devolved functions right down to the rural communities where Solomon Islands Government services facilitates and establish adhoc staff accommodation

Kologeto said in a joint paper by the key ministries they sought Cabinet approval from Cabinet to delay revised policy on PSHA.

He said subsequently, it was approved by the Cabinet.

Meanwhile existing policy in rental scheme is being used as of to date until the end of the year

Kologeto said it is important to note that if a public servant can buy a house using other means, this is permitted.

He said the process is to apply to the Public Service, the Public Service will intend forward to Ministry of Lands and Ministry of Finance to facilitate the purchase.

About 50 houses were purchased by the Government from the developer, Mamara Metropolis Pacific Limited (MPPL).

Currently, Government still pays rental payment to landlords of SIG and public service to waive part of their salary to rent a house that costs more than their rental entitlement.

With the new policy on PSHA, Government will pay rental entitlements directly to employees without waivers.

The rental eligibility based on the level of public servants still remains the same.