Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent—
Government has acquired land for the construction of high rise flats and residential stands for more than 250 000 civil servants, a senior official has said. The acquisition of the land is part of Government’s residential stands grand scheme, which will see more than 500 000 civil servants benefiting. Addressing delegates at a stakeholder consultative meeting in the capital encompassing the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, construction firms, financial institutions, engineers, town planners, Local Government Public Works and National Housing permanent secretary Engineer George Mlilo said the project would be done in phases.
The first phase is expected to commence next month. Eng Mlilo said financial institutions would be roped in to bail out the project with affordable lines of credit. “We are hoping to start this project in March,” he said. “We have identified land in all the 10 provincial capitals. We are now moving to other smaller urban centres that we have selected to be homes for civil servants.
“For now, the land we have will properly cater for more than half of the 500 000 civil servants. Phase one will be implemented in all the provinces, as it will provide walk up flats and serviced stands. Phase two will see people constructing houses after the high rise flats.”
Eng Mlilo said financial institutions roped in the project should be able to fund at least $20 million monthly, so that servicing is conducted in many areas. “Banks should not charge us high interest rates,” he said. “For instance, to be charged 21 percent interest would be prohibitive of development,” he said.
The total cost of the project, he said, is dependent on whether one prefers high rise flats or residential areas. The meeting came after a Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties is already in place, which was signed in December.
A trust fund was also agreed upon that will administer contributions made by civil servants, as well as ensure that workers’ money, to be deducted from the Salary Service Bureau, is specifically used for the housing project.
Apex council information and publicity secretary Mr George Mushipe said they were excited with Government’s commitment on the project, but appealed for the project to be fast tracked.
The national housing policy initiative is part of Government’s fulfilment of goals spelt out in the economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, where it intends to provide 300 000 housing units by 2018.