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Government has set a massive target of 313 000 low-income housing units to be completed by 2018 to ease the national housing demand now slightly above one million, a Cabinet Minister has said. Speaking after addressing students at the Joint Command and Staff Course Number 28 at the Zimbabwe Staff College on Wednesday, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said the housing programme was in response to the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), whose target was 25 000 housing units per annum.

“The housing programme is in response to the Zim-Asset blue print.

“Actually, our target is much higher than that in the Zim-Asset document. We are set to complete 313 000 houses by 2018,” said Dr Chombo.

He said the housing programme, which was already yielding results was being financed by a partnership between some local banks and the Government, which has a five-year implementation period.

Dr Chombo said his ministry had created the National Housing Delivery Committee chaired by the CBZ in order to promote transparency in the disbursement of funds.

He said besides the issue of housing, some private companies had also partnered local authorities in the provision of street lightening.

The private companies are set to recoup their costs from selling aertising space on billboards.

Dr Chombo dispelled reports that Government had banned housing co-operatives saying their existence was recognised by the country’s laws.

“There has never been a plan to ban co-operatives. What has been of concern to us is the fact that co-operatives were collecting money but not providing the service and we have directed that all funds should go to banks and should be released to the specific service provider.”

Dr Chombo said local authorities must provide appropriate space for people’s markets and factory shells with access to clean water and ablution facilities instead of vendors crowding the streets and displaying wares in front someone’s shop.

Last year, the Government managed to construct 15 000 houses for low income earners in Southview Park along the Masvingo-Harare highway, Caledonia and Budiriro in Harare, Mbizo in Kwekwe and Hertfordshire in Gweru.

Housing problems have continued to stalk Zimbabwe for many years owing to the high cost of building materials that are beyond the reach of many. Mortgages and rentals are also high.

Source : The Herald