Pension funds, NHC team up in 360bn/- real estate development deal

Image result for fred msemwa tanzaniaSix funds and the National Housing Corporation (NHC) have teamed up to operate a scheme for construction and selling houses to the public, a move approved by Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA).

The scheme dubbed Watumishi Housing Company Real Estate Investment Trust (WHC-REIT) has started with 68bn/- and is expected to grow gradually to 358bn/- in five years.

The funds are the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), PPF Pension Fund, Local Authorities Pension Fund (LAPF), Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) and National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

WHC-REIT Chief Executive Officer and WHC-REIT Fund Manager, Mr Fred Msemwa (pictured), describes the trust fund as the first real investment trust in East Africa to mobilise resources for construction of houses for low and medium income earners.

“(We) intend to channel its investment towards the development of residential houses and commercial properties for immediate sale and rental, to meet the growing demand for accommodation in the market,” Dr Msemwa said.

He said yesterday through a statement that in the next three years, the WHC-REIT units will be floated on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) to allow members of the public to invest in expansive and lucrative real estate sector.

Dr Msemwa said the first phase of the housing project has started with 50 units in Morogoro Region. Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA) Principle Public Relations Officer, Charles Shirima, said WHC-REIT receives all the blessing from the authority to establish the said fund.

“The fund will initially operate on a closed end basis but later on will be opened for other investors,” Mr Shirima told Daily News yesterday. He said the lock in period is in order to avoid early redemption of units which may disturb the cashflow... since the scheme involves construction of houses.

WHC-REIT is a collective investment scheme where members pull their resources in a trust fund for real estate purpose “In REIT, members buy units, as opposed to shares in a company in return for a profit through dividend,” Mr Shirima said.

The WHC-REIT scheme has come at a time when the economy has been growing at over 6.0 per cent for the past 10 years and is further forecast to expand at over seven per cent in the coming years.

The demand for decent and affordable housing for public servants has also been growing especially in urban centres, where rural to urban migration is exacerbating the demand.

Meanwhile, members of the public have responded positively to the WHC housing project, with the company receiving over 2,000 applications for buying houses so far.

“The response has been good, beyond our expectations. Although we are planning to construct 1,500 housing units in this phase, we have already received over 2,000 applications,” said Dr Msemwa
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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