Monday, February 11, 2013

Obiang Orders Housing Officials to Clear Housing Backlog

 Guinean families receive long-awaited keys to public housing

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea ordered the National Property Management Company (ENGI) to immediately turn over publicly-financed housing units to families that had made their down payments months earlier. Nearly seventy families received keys to their properties within two days.

The houses, located in the Buena Esperanza, a public housing community for moderate-income working families in Sipopo, were delivered to the families on February 4.

The families said they had been waiting many months to be able to occupy the units they had purchased from the National Property Management Company, which is responsible for the management and distribution of public housing properties, despite having made their payments.

Their situation was brought to the attention of the president by Minister of Public Works and Infrastructures Juan Nko Nbuna. After meeting with the families, President Obiang called a meeting with ENGI officials on February 2. A visibly angry Obiang reprimanded the officials for the backlog and said that withholding the keys from citizens who had already paid for their housing was tantamount to “graft and social corruption.”

“Buena Esperanza was designed to provide affordable housing to Guinean citizens,” President Obiang said. “It was not developed to promote business, and those of you who have rented these people’s houses for profit may lose your homes.”

He said the government was committed to resolve the matter quickly and assured the families in attendance that they would receive their homes in less than six months. Several families have already received their homes.

President Obiang then prohibited the collection of future payments for housing from the citizens on the waiting list for housing until all those who had made their down payments had received their keys.

"The Government is there to solve the population's problems,” not create obstacles, he said.