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The Government is to embark on a housing programme aimed at constructing about 12,000 housing units throughout the country.
It has further urged people participating and willing to invest in the public-private partnership (PPP) projects in Zambia to ensure the local context is given adequate consideration.
Addressing a conference dubbed: ’Affordable Housing and Development in Zambia’ organized by the PPP unit in her ministry recently, Finance and National Planning deputy minister Chileshe Kapwepwe said housing is an integral part of sustainable development.
The 12,000 housing units will consist of 6,000 low cost houses, 4,500 medium cost ones and 1,500 high cost houses.
Complementary infrastructure such as clinics, schools, markets and other relevant facilities will be constructed alongside housing.
The housing deficit in the country is said to be over a million units despite having a well defined policy in place.
Ms. Kapwepwe stressed that shelter is a basic need and fundamental right which enables the nations to meet the housing goal and is key in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“This is the reason the Government has seen it fit to ensure that affordable housing is provided for our people. In order to achieve this more effectively, Government is involving the private sector in infrastructure and service delivery at various levels,” she intimated.
The housing programme is also tailored to allow individuals with low incomes to acquire and own houses.
In view of this, Government is exploring means through which a cost-effective housing mechanism can be implemented in conjunction with financial institutions.
Government’s commitment to PPPs does not end with the housing programme but extends to other projects such as roads in which the private sector may wish to invest. And Secretary to the Treasury, Likolo Ndalamei has disclosed that providing affordable housing is part of government’s main objective in the medium and long term of ensuring sustainable socio-economic growth and poverty reduction.
Infrastructure development is a key factor in linking business activities that contribute to economic growth. The existing housing deficit in the country provides an opportunity for private sector investment and growth, he added.
By Nawa Mutumweno