A new housing program is set to be launched in Addis Ababa aimed at public servants, offering homes for as little as 14,285 birr per square metre. This rate is significantly less than the average cost of constructing an apartment, which is currently as high as 25,000 birr a square metre.
The Addis Ababa City Administration has established guidelines for the “formation and structure of cooperatives to develop a collective housing program for public employees” in an effort to address the city’s dire housing needs. The proposed program would require government employees to set aside 10 to 15 percent of the housing costs in a closed account, with the remaining amount paid for through bank loans, both the land and loans from banks being made available by the Administration.
The apartment complexes range from G+4 to G+15, with the estimated cost of a 105-square-meter, three-bedroom apartment being between 840,000 and 1.5 million birr. Two-bedroom apartments range in price from 675,000 birr to 1.1 million birr, while studio apartments cost from 480,000 birr to 900,000 birr.
According to experts, the housing in the new program is priced significantly below the market average, making it affordable for state employees. However, the proposed plan has been met with opposition from several regional states who disagree with the administration’s definition of “public employees” in its new directive. The directive limits eligibility to “residents of Addis Ababa who permanently work in public institutions and state-owned enterprises of the city administration or federal and Oromia institutions that are based in Addis Ababa.”
This means that the new housing program will only be available to those working at public institutions in Addis Ababa, Oromia Regional Government, or at the federal level. “Public employees” from other regions that have offices, branches, and liaison offices in the capital city will not be eligible for the program, prompting criticism from officials who argue that the program should not be limited to those in Oromia, Addis Ababa, and the federal government.