Felex Share Senior Reporter—
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday met civil servants’ unions and urged them to take up residential stands being developed by the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ). He told the unions that Government workers willing to join the scheme would do so voluntarily. IDBZ is developing various housing projects across the country in Harare, Masvingo, Kariba, Hwange, Kwekwe, as well as Gwanda, Plumtree and Beitbridge.
Speaking after yesterday’s meeting, Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecilia Alexander said Government had offered to take the unions to Masvingo to have an appreciation of what IBDZ was doing on the ground.
“He invited us to present an offer which they have,” she said. “He wanted us to educate our members about the scheme and he categorically stated that civil servants will take up the IBDZ houses voluntarily and will not be linked in any way to bonuses and salaries.
“As such, the Ministry of Finance will fund Apex leadership to visit a model IBDZ housing scheme in Masvingo for buy in. The project is bonded by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and involves the Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp) which has been capacitated to do developmental activities there.
“They want us to go and see what is on the ground and get an appreciation and exposure of how stands issues can be executed.”
Government is also working on a housing scheme for civil servants and will soon flight tenders for the construction of model high-rise flats in various provinces.
The project is coming as a non-monetary incentive.
Mrs Alexander said by visiting Masvingo, they would gauge Government’s capacity in providing residential stands and houses.
“We now want to have a holistic approach,” she said. “With the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry we have made strides and Government Ministries have to synchronise these programmes so that at the end of the day Government efforts in solving housing problems are seen.”
On the regular engagements they are having with Government, Mrs Alexander said: “We welcome these meetings considering the economic challenges we are facing as a country.
“Maybe without these exchanges, we could have witnessed labour unrest.”
On its non-monetary incentive, Government wants to have blocks of flats in cities and towns.
Government wants to minimise allocation of residential stands and concentrate on building high rise apartments.
It has already identified land in cities and towns on which the flats would be built.
The land is either owned by the State or councils, while in some areas it is already fully-serviced and ready for construction work to start.
More than 75 000 civil servants have registered to be part of the housing scheme and more are expected to come on board.
Government is addressing the national housing backlog among civil servants in line with the Zim-Asset economic blueprint, which targets to provide 300 000 housing units by next year.
At least 500 000 civil servants are expected to benefit in the grand scheme, with financial institutions being roped in to offer affordable lines of credit.