Over 2.5 mn in Sri Lanka need housing - Minister

There are 2.5 million people in Sri Lanka who are in need of housing according to Housing and Development Minister Sajith Premadasa.

“When I took over the Ministry in 2015, they did not have accurate statistics on the housing requirement of the country. The ministry was simply adding 50,000 every year as an estimate to the survey conducted by the Census and Statistics Department every decade”, Minister Sajith Premadasa said.

He was addressing a function held at Temple Trees on Monday (13) to hand over housing deeds and loans to low income families in the Colombo District under the ‘Semata Sevana’ (A Shelter for All) programme.

Around 2,372 families in the Colombo District received title deeds to houses, certificates of ownership, lease deeds, loans under the Sonduru Piyasa programme, agreements of sale and housing loans for those who lost their homes in Salawa and Kosgama due to the Salawa armoury explosion. The latter had 825 families receiving housing loans. A total of Rs 260 million was handed over to these families through these programmes.

The Minister further explained that in the last year, the Ministry together with all local government officials conducted a survey to assess the exact housing figures in the country.

The Semata Sevana program aims to meet the housing needs in the country by 2025.

According to the Minister, the 2017 Budget allocated Rs 6 billion to the Ministry and the 2018 Budget has increased this to over Rs 10 billion. Premadasa asserted that the Ministry has spent close to 90 percent of their budgetary allocations thus far.

The Ministry also aims to complete 500 model villages this year with 2500 being the target by the end of 2020.

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