WITH the increasing number of housing deficit and mushrooming of unplanned settlements due to the increasing population in Zambia, the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development will next year undertake a National Housing Census to establishing the current needs of the people.
The census will go hand in hand with the upgrading of slums to make them habitable with proper water and sanitation facilities including other social amenities just as clinics and schools.
Zambia’s Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development Ronald Chitotela says the National Housing Census will be conducted in partnership with the Central Statistics Office.
The housing census in Zambia was last conducted in 2010.
According to Mr Chitotela, the census will enable both the public and private sector to adequately participate in the provision of housing in the country.
“We want to know the exact number and type of houses in the country so that we know our latest deficit and requirement. Once we have this data we shall be able to plan adequately knowing where need is and where we need to improve.” Mr Chitotela said.
This is according to a statement issued recently by Ministry public relations officer, Jeff Banda
Currently, it is estimated that Zambia’s existing housing stock stands at around 2.5million houses catering for about 16 million people, according to the latest World Population Review.
Zambia is said to have a deficit of 2 million houses, meaning families and people overcrowd the existing housing structures.
Preventive measures have to be taken to avert the looming 3.3million housing deficit the country is likely to face by 2030 if nothing is done by Government and other stakeholders.
Housing experts have attributed the situation that Zambia, like many other countries in Africa are faced with, to lack of good prior planning and high population growth rate.
Apart from its own population growth rate of around 3.3 percent per annum as at February, 2018, Zambia, being a peaceful and politically stable landlocked country surrounded by eight other countries, has been welcoming people from the region which has contributed to its population growth.
Mr Chitotela said Government is fully aware of the housing situation in the country, hence it’s coming up with projects aimed at addressing the housing deficit.
“One of the projects we have embarked on is the construction of 5,000 houses for civil servants around Zambia,” he said.
A US$600 million is supposed to be spent on the project which will be done in partnership with Mercury Asset Partners.
Despite the high housing deficit, some housing units built by the Zambia National Housing Authority have remained unoccupied due to the high market prices.
But Mr Chitotela said Government has reduced the prices to make them affordable for ordinary Zambians.
“For instance those houses which were going at K700, 000 to K800, 000, are now costing at around K570, 000,” he said.
He said a considerable payment period has also been given to prospective clients.
The minister said Government has signed a number of Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with different companies to construct houses for both the private and public sectors.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers ZUFIAW and Diamond Equity have signed an MOU to enable employees under own land and construct houses while in employment.
Speaking during the launch of ZUFIAW Manyumba Home Empowerment project, ZUFIAW President Ackim Mweemba said the development arose from a realisation that most employers have done little to empower their workers with home ownership schemes.
“Lack of shelter has caused destitution upon separation from employment as most retirees cannot manage to build or rent a house.
“Young people should make home ownership a priority,” he said.
Diamond Equity partner construction Manager Gilbert Mabingo said the 4,000 residential plots under ZUFIAW Manyumba Home Empowerment Project will help the country address the national housing deficit.
According to figures from the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance Africa (CAHF), out of Zambia’s 2.5million housing stock, 64 percent is traditional housing, while 36 percent (or about 800 000 units) is urban housing.
CAHF indicates that about 28.5 percent of the urban housing is detached housing (single units); while 20 percent is traditional housing and 21.5 percent is improved traditional huts, mostly in the rural settings.
The centre further states that about 40 percent of the urban housing is good quality, while 60 percent is substandard housing.
In Lusaka, nearly 70 percent of all housing stock is substandard and informal and accommodates over two thirds of the city’s population, mainly in the 25 unplanned settlements.
As another way of addressing the housing deficit, the Zambian Government has embarked on slum upgrading in Lusaka.
“The slum upgrading in the capital city is being done in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and other stake holders such as Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company and the power utility company, ZESCO,” Mr Chitoleta explained.
He said a committee has been put in place to look into slum upgrading under the supervision of Permanent Secretaries from the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development and Local Government.
The proposed townships to be upgraded are Misisi, Kuku, Chibolya, Bauleni and Kanyama.
Pre and actual feasibility studies for the slum upgrade project is expected to be carried out by a Romanian Company, Rio- Aid before the end of this year.
Upgrading of the unplanned settlements across the country, according to Mr Chitotela, is one of the initiatives of providing decent housing.
Nancy Sitenta Siame
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