Government to build houses for the poor

garikai__hlalani_kuhle_housingHARARE - For the first time in a decade, government is to embark on an ambitious housing scheme for the poor. The Ministry of Local Government has already identified sites for 100,000 stands in towns around the country.

Deputy Minister of Local Government Sesel Zvidzai said that his ministry was working with the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Finance to see through the ambitious project for urban expansion.

The Ministry of Local Government has identified areas of expansion in various parts of the country where we would like to make cheap houses available for the poor who are living in horrible conditions. We intend to build 100,000 housing units. This is, of course, small against the waiting list, but if we are to build houses on a yearly basis the downstream benefit would be enormous, said Zvidzai.

Millions of Zimbabweans are on the waiting list for houses throughout the country with efforts by local councils hampered by the lack of money. The available stands in most urban council areas are sold at inflated prices out of reach of the poor.

We have approached different building societies who have indicated their willingness to work with the government and we will be starting the process immediately, said Zvidzai.

According to Zvidzai, 50,000 of the housing units will be in Harare, 10,000 in Bulawayo and 5 000 apiece for the cities of Mutare and Gweru. Smaller towns such as Chitungwiza, Masvingo, Kadoma Marondera and Kwekwe will also benefit from the project.

Houses will be constructed in relationship to the waiting list of the towns. And they will exceed the 100,000 units that we have targeted, said Zvidzai.

While Zvidzai could not give a particular date for the start of building work, he indicated that it could be before the end of the year. Minister of Finance Tendai Biti, who is part of the project team, is expected to allocate funds to the project in his mid-term budget.

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