Saturday, 3 August 2019

COMMAND HOUSING TO BEGIN


THE Government has managed to get the buy-in from private sector players, including pension funds and insurance schemes, to support the Community Housing programme which is set to be rolled out soon.

The Government, last year promised to launch the Command Housing programme as part of efforts to provide decent, orderly and affordable accommodation to the public. Under the programme, old houses will be upgraded to meet local authorities’ requirements and standards with some of the country’s oldest high density suburbs like Mbare in Harare, Makokoba in Bulawayo and Sakubva in Gweru earmarked for urgent regeneration.

During a question and answer session in Parliament last week, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Cde July Moyo said the Government has engaged relevant stakeholders and would soon roll out the Command Housing programme, beginning with the regeneration of Sakubva at the end of the month.
  
“Yes, we have started with a number of companies that are part of the Command Housing structure. In the implementation stage, we said in the Command Housing we need to mobilise all the stakeholders. We now have those who are mobilised architects who are involved with pension funds to try to get land so that they can do Command Housing but in specific terms, we said we want to start with regeneration and I am glad to say in Sakubva, we will be launching regeneration of Sakubva this month (August),” he said.

Minister Moyo allayed fears that the programme would put further strain on the country’s resources, saying pension funds and insurance schemes would be the main drivers of the programme. This, he said, was in line with international best practice.

“If you look at the Skyline here in Harare, that Skyline was not built by public funds, it was built by your pension funds, by your insurances, by banking, investing in those properties and we are no better today. The private sector, including our pension funds, our insurance schemes are ready to build and they are the ones who are assisting in command housing. Properties, whether it is residential, commercial or industrial, in most countries and we are no exception, are not built directly by public funds.

“Yesterday, when we were accessing international financing, you could get a loan from one multinational institution or bilateral institution but that was only supplementary to the resources that were mobilised through your insurance which is your first savings and your pension funds which is also your first saving. We still want to access that. When I last interacted with the pension schemes in this country in Victoria Falls, they indicated to me that they are sitting on investable funds and they are looking for permanent solutions in terms of buildings,” he said. 

Minister Moyo said that will not just be urban focused, as the country’s rural areas would also be a priority under the programme.

“I have said this in this August House that what we desire is that your business centres, your rural service centres as well as your growth points become centres for building back better and we do this by accession of land, that is where there is a business centre where there is a rural service centre so that people can have title deeds in those areas,” he said. Sunday News

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