By EDDIE OSIFELO
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration has denied reports suggesting the 50 houses bought for public servants at Mamara, West of Honiara, cost between $2million to $3 million each.
Government bought the houses after it signed a Sale and Purchase agreement with developer Metropolis Pacific PTE Ltd and contractor, Metropolis Mamara Development Ltd, last year.
Permanent Secretary Riley Mesepitu clarified this in response to an article the Solomon Star published that claimed the two-bedroom houses cost $2 million-plus while the three-bedroom houses cost well over $3 million.
Mesepitu told reporters on Wednesday that there is not much difference in the cost of the Mamara houses compared to those Home Finance and other Real Estate agents are selling in Honiara.
He said the Solomon Star exaggerated the cost of the houses.
Mesepitu said type A houses, which are three bedroom and self-contained, cost about $927,675.
He said type B houses, which are three bedrooms with shared amenities, is $742,1`40.
Type C houses, which are two-bedroom, costs $556,605.
From the 50 houses, there are 10 Type A houses, 15 Type B houses and 25 Type C houses.
Mesepitu said the total cost of the 50 houses are just above $34 million.
Government holds the Perpetual Estate title of Mamara while Metropolis Pacific PTE Ltd holds the Fixed Term Estate title.
Mesepitu said titles of the 50 houses will go back to Commissioner of Lands after the Government completes the three phases of payments to Metropolis.
He said 40 percent of the $34 million (about $13.6M) was already released to the company when Government signed the Sale and Purchase agreement last year.
He said the Government will release 50 percent of the payment when the title is returned to Commissioner of Lands.
âThere will be process in place for public servants who are interested to purchase the houses at Mamara,â he said.
Mesepitu said the final payment of 10 percent will be released when the public servant occupies the house if there are no defects.
However, he said public servants who occupy any of the 50 houses at Mamara will not benefit from the Public Servantsâ Housing Assistance (PSHA).
Further to that, Mesepitu said the houses bought by some politicians is done outside the government scheme.
PSHA was renamed from Public Service Rental Scheme.
Under the PSHA, a level one public servant is eligible for $1,500 monthly rental, a $200 add atop each of the position levels up to the government highest postholder Superscale 3 (SS3) with $4,500 monthly rental eligibility.