The government says alternative and innovative methods of housing development that allow for private sector participation is key to reducing housing deficit in the country.
Minister of housing and infrastructure Vincent Mwale said this yesterday in a speech read for him by Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Veronica Mwiche during the launch of a Collins Mutual Limited rent-to-own housing project in Chipata.
Collins Mutual Limited, a local investment company, has partnered with China State Construction and Engineering Corporation Limited to undertake the project, starting with 2,500 units on 400 hectares of land secured in Senior Chief Nzamane’s area.
Mr Mwale said the launch marks a milestone in the private sector participation in the provision of low and medium cost housing units in the district and the country as a whole.
The Minister noted that the country currently faces a housing deficit of 1.5 million as a result of rapid rate of urbanization.
However, he said Government under the leadership of President Edgar Lungu is committed to close up the housing gap and ensure people have access to decent and affordable housing as stipulated in the 2020 National Housing Policy.
“The 2020 National Housing Policy is aimed at facilitating the development of decent and affordable housing. It calls for the promotion of alternative and innovative methods of housing development,” Mr Mwale said.
He added that the policy focuses on the promotion of private sector participation in the provision of low and medium cost housing and that the launch of the rent-to-own housing project will start in April next to be developed over four years.
“The launch of the rent-to-own housing project here in Chipata is the timely response and progressive step towards the realization of the objectives of the national housing policy. Indeed alternative and innovative methods of housing development are a key to enhancing housing affordability in the country,” Mr Mwale said.
He mentioned that government has always believed that the provision of decent, adequate and affordable housing to people, adding that innovative approach to be executed by Collins Mutual would reduce the cost of buying a house, which will ultimately afford many people access to decent housing.
Speaking at the same occasion in a speech read for him by Chipata District Commissioner Kalunga Zulu, Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu expressed optimism that the Collins Mutual project in Chiapta will deliver one of the human basic needs that of affordable and decent housing.
“Collins Mutual will create wholesome communities that not only provides affordable , well designed , attractive housing units, but also recreational spaces and commercial centres for low and lower middle income families,” Mr Zulu said.
Chipata City Mayor Sinoya Mwale expressed happiness that the long planned housing unit is now on the verge of implementation and pledged the council’s full support to the project that will be undertaken by Collins Mutual Limited in partnership with China State Construction and Engineering Corporation at a cost of US$100 million.
While Collins Mutual Chief Executive Conrad Gomani said the company will roll out the 5,000 housing units over a four year period and promised to develop properties that are environmental friendly targeted at low and medium earning families.