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The National Housing Corporation has embarked on a major arrears recovery exercise to recoup millions of unpaid rental payments.
It is the first of its kind after 20 years and the state agency began on it last Friday in Gerehu’s Port Moresby suburb.
In a statement the acting managing director Elizabath Bowada said: “The recovery exercise is not an eviction exercise.”
Fifty tenants were given notice of arrears by a combined recovery team of 60 personnel comprising the management team, NCDC office and property management division, technical services division, human resource, finance and security personnel.
Tenants at Gerehu alone owe the National Housing Corporation close to K3 million from the 256 properties under its portfolio, the company says.
Port Moresby city though owes the housing corporation, an accumulated arrears of over K28 million-money that is supposed to be made from 4,124 properties under the ownership of NHC.
The recovery exercise is expected to extend to Waigani, Tokarara and other suburbs in NCD within the coming weeks.
“The nationwide recovery exercise is a crucial part of the inclusive asset recovery program of Minister Tkatchenko’s 10-goal activity work plan sanctioned by the government which tasked the NHC to implement to economically take back PNG,” Ms Bowada said.
When taking office last August, Mr Tkatchenko and Ms Bowada in a joint press conference issued warnings to tenants to pay their rentals or face eviction.
Tkatcheko then said although rentals were the lowest in the country, tenants continued to defy their obligations to pay rentals.
“We want to stop all illegal tenancy of our NHC buildings, we want those who have the agreements to start paying up,” Minister Tkatchenko said.
During the recovery exercise Ms Bowada clarified: “We are simply serving notices to all our defaulters and if they feel unhappy with our records, then they are at liberty to come forward with their receipts to verify their accounts.”
She said serving notices or even carrying out evictions are the core and mandated business of the NHC, however, some tenants have been ignorant about their obligation to pay when rentals were due.