PRB, housing authority to come under one umbrella

Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar responds to reporters outside Parliament yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

The Public Rental Board (PRB) and the Housing Authority of Fiji (HAF) will come under one umbrella soon.

This was highlighted by Minister for Housing Premila Kumar during the sitting of the Committee of Supply in Parliament yesterday.

Responding to a question from National Federation Party leader Prof Biman Prasad, Mrs Kumar labelled the move as the best thing they could ever do.

Mrs Kumar said the two bodies worked under the same umbrella in the 1980s but had to be split up because of corruption.

“We are moving PRB staff into HAF, we are currently doing a job evaluation and we are also looking at staffing needs,” she said.

“Currently, we are working with the National Housing Plan to look into legislative changes that need to be undertaken and there is going to be an overall change in the housing sector.

“I had done an analysis on HAF and all they do is subdivision of lands, once this is done they sell the land and that is all they do.

“When you analyse the HAF staff, it is 220 and we need to question what they are doing is a cost to the taxpayers and we need to tidy this up to look after the needs of our people.”

Mrs Kumar said if the ministry continued to operate the board as a separate entity, it would cost them money considering they occupied prime properties around the country which could be used for rental purposes, adding that once PRB merges with HAF, it would reduce overhead costs.

Mrs Kumar said considering that PRB was dependent on HAF, it was only logical that they merged, reducing costs and provided the housing authority more money to do more work.

She said for any organisation, it was important that its staffing was reviewed and that the dynamics of the organisation were changed to make it applicable. She added work on the merger was continuing and both bodies shared the same board.

“Once the merger has been completed, the board and the management will look at an organisation restructure,” she said.

“We are anticipating to complete this merger by the end of this year.”

Earlier, Prof Prasad had questioned Mrs Kumar on the merger, seeking an update and querying the $1.6 million budget allocation that was given to PRB.

 

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