Civil servants housing trust fund on cards

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government and civil servants have agreed to establish a Trust Fund that will administer contributions made by workers towards a residential stands scheme being worked on by the employer.

The fund will ensure that workers’ money, to be deducted from the Salary Service Bureau, is specifically used for the housing project.

This comes as officials from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and civil servants unions meet today to finalise on designs and costs of the housing scheme.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties is already in place as Government moves in to give its workers non-monetary incentives.

The initiative is part of Government’s fulfilment of goals spelt out in Zim-Asset where it intends to provide 300 000 housing units to the people by 2018.

Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecilia Alexander yesterday, said a Trust Fund would ensure workers’ contributions were handled transparently.

“We have agreed to form a Trust Fund as a way of ensuring people’s monies are safe,” she said.

“The Trust Fund will be administered by the Apex Council, which is a body that represents civil servants and the Local Government Ministry. We want to ensure that the money specifically go towards housing development and nowhere else. We do not want to hear stories from the employer and this is the best way to go. Moreover, with a Trust Fund in place, it will also be easy for us to monitor the funds.”

She said the Trust Fund would be set up soon as modalities were put in place.

“We have the contents of the constitution of the fund and it was also supposed to go through various legal offices such as the Attorney General’s office,” Mrs Alexander said.

“We are meeting tomorrow (today), having met again last week, to have a look at the final document and go on to the next stage.”

Mrs Alexander said the number of civil servants in need of stands continued to increase from the 121 000 initially registered last month.

Government is taking on board every civil servant including those who are not members of the Apex Council.

“In tomorrow’s meeting, we are also supposed to come to a conclusion on the issue of pricing and the designs we want,” she said.

“We had also suggested that we go for high rise buildings to minimise on the costs and the response will come from the Government side when we meet. This year, we have to deliver and there is nothing which can stop the project, as it has the support of all Government levels.”

Government had initially pegged the stands at $4 per square metre to ensure affordability, with an additional dollar going towards administration fees.

Indications are that Government had proposed to “slightly” increase the amount to cater for all costs needed on servicing the stands.

Government has already begun approaching municipalities and district councils to secure land on which to roll out the scheme.

The housing scheme will go a long way in cushioning civil servants who have seen many schemes being established in their names, but benefiting outsiders and political bigwigs.

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