Minister of Infrastructure, Housing Urban and Development Charles Lubasi Milupi has announced that Zambia’s housing units deficit is expected to double in the next eight years.
Eng. Milupi said the current 1.5 million housing unit’s deficit is expected to rise to three million units by 2030.
Featuring on ZNBC TV’s Sunday Interview, Mr. Milupi bemoaned the substandard of some houses, especially in remote areas.
He said there is a need to come up with standard designs of houses that can be used even in rural houses to enable more houses to have access to electricity.
“Infrastructure is key to development; you need the right type of infrastructure to ensure that business carries on unimpeded. You know the size of our country is very big with a fairly low population of 18 Million. What this entails is that we have communities all over the place, districts all over the place that need to be connected over this wide country in terms of the area,” Mr. Milupi said.
“In terms of housing you are quite right that currently we have a deficit of 1.5 million housing units and we think that by 2030 which is eight years from now this will rise to 3 million units. This is with the urban housing and peri-urban housing. That is why we have that deficit but if you look right across our country in the rural setting up in the villages and so on. The standard of some houses in certain villages are such that I think we need to expand our vision in terms of what we have to do with housing.”
“The Covid pandemic has brought out certain issues of requiring E-learning for example for pupils and students and so also on. Just imagine those who are in remote village housing which is just mud and poll and grass just thrown as a roof and so on. You cannot even if you intended to have off grid solar electricity provided to such houses so that children like that can also access e-learning. So as we expand we need to address even more than the official deficit that I have talked about. We need to come up with standard designs of houses that can be used even in rural houses so that when need be those houses have access to electricity off grid electricity and they can have the mechanism,” Mr. Milupi said.
He said the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing Urban and Development has already started formulating affordable standard housing unit designs for both rural and urban areas.
“We have been five months in power now or in office, our country has been Independent since 1964 but there isn’t a suitable time to say maybe we need to wait so the mechanism has already started to begin to address. We have people who deal with these matters in our ministry who have already been tasked to look at certain designs in addition to standard designs for teachers housing in schools especially in remote schools, nurses housing and clinical officers housing in remote places,” Mr. Milupi said.
“The overriding desire is to come up with costs that are affordable both to the Government when we build these infrastructures and in terms of these housing units that I am talking about for villages that are affordable to villagers. We are not going to pay for those but I think it will serve us right as a country if we say you want to build a house, here is a standard design which is affordable and should be able to put it up knowing well that children that grow up in that homestead will have access to basic amenities,” he added.
On road infrastructure, Mr. Milupi reiterated that the Government will be undertaking Public Private Partnership (PPP) to construct roads in areas that are commercially viable.
He emphasized the need for the public to differentiate between commercial viability for PPP and economic viability of areas.
Mr. Milupi added that infrastructure such as roads and houses must be constructed following right pricing, right standard and right duration.
“We are talking about PPP attracting investors to come in and construct roads. This country is big. There are many roads all over the place. Districts that are not connected, right now I am getting videos for example the Samfya-Kasaba Road that is going into Chifunabuli going to pass Lubwa Mission. There is a terrible thing there, the road is cut off,” he said.
Mr. Milupi repeated that the much talked about Chipata-Vubwi /Chipata-Chadiza Road is not commercially viable saying PPP cannot work but the central Government needs to find money to improve the road.