Home » Industry » Shopping Mall for Chipinge [column]

Work on the construction of a shopping mall and business centre in Chipinge has officially begun, following a ground-breaking ceremony at the site on March 4. Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Senator Prisca Mupfumira broke the ground by symbolically digging up and turning over the first sod of earth.

Speaking at the ceremony, Senator Mupfumira said the shopping mall was intended to meet the business needs of the Chipinge community. She said it was expected to lead to an increase in infrastructure development as well as job creation.

The mall is being constructed by the National Social Security Authority at an estimated cost of $6,5 million. It is expected to take 15 months to construct. This is the latest centre to be constructed by NSSA, which has already constructed a similar business centre in Bindura and shopping malls in Mutare’s Sakubva suburb and in Gwanda.

Work on the mall had originally been scheduled for 2005 but, like several other capital projects, had to be postponed due to the hyperinflation that the country experienced.

As NSSA general manager James Matiza pointed out at the ground-breaking ceremony, several local authorities repossessed land that had been identified for development and paid for by NSSA after the introduction of multiple currencies in 2009, which curbed hyperinflation.

Fortunately, Chipinge was not one of these. That patience has paid off. NSSA finances construction of shopping malls such as the one that is being constructed in Chipinge from surplus funds collected from contributors to the national pension scheme and their employers.

Because it has to look after these contributions until the employees who make them become eligible for their pension or other benefit, which could be in several decades time, it invests funds that are not yet required for disbursement in a mixture of money market, equity and property investments.

Property investments tend to retain and increase their value better than most other types of investment, as was particularly evident after the 2009 dollarisation. Moreover, they not only tend to increase in value over time but provide an investment income through rentals.

However, NSSA has to spread its investment risk through a combination of different investment channels. The chief goal of NSSA’s investments is to grow the pension fund for the benefit of contributors.

However, it is also expected, in terms of its investment policy, to allocate some of its investment funds to projects that will benefit pension scheme members and various communities. Shopping malls and business centres are among such investments. Others include health centres and housing schemes.

Because of the national scope of NSSA’s social security schemes, NSSA endeavours to spread such investments around the country. Construction of the Sakubva Shopping Mall about five kilometres from Mutare’s central business district has meant that Sakubva residents have a modern shopping complex and small traders no longer have to travel to the city centre to purchase goods for resale. The mall’s location, which is close to the Sakubva Long Distance Bus Terminus, is ideal for the businesses that operate from within it, as it provides an opportunity to sell goods and services to large volumes of people.

Construction of Gwanda Shopping Mall commenced in 2000 and was completed in 2002, although it was only opened in 2006. It has provided Matabeleland South with an impressive and modern shopping mall and become an important community resource.

The Bindura Commercial Centre, officially opened in 2011, has increased business space in the town and created job opportunities.

The Chipinge mall will be a double-storey commercial complex, housing, it is envisaged, a supermarket, shops, banks and offices, as well as a fast food facility and a beauty salon. At the same time as this facility is being constructed, NSSA intends to establish a new greenark zone. The parking area will include ablution and water facilities, walkways and sitting areas. The green areaark will provide a serene and clean environment in which people can relax during the day. The centre is expected to generate new business by bringing in new tenants who are not based in Chipinge and at the same time generate new jobs for local people in the eastern border town.

In Harare, there is a shopping mall and office complex built and owned by NSSA next to NSSA’s headquarters. NSSA also plans to build in Harare what will eventually be a 12-storey shopping and office complex on the site of the former Ximex Mall. At present, the site is being used as a car park, which will bring in revenue for NSSA from those making use of it until NSSA is ready to commence construction, which will take place in stages. Initially a two-storey building will be constructed on the site. The other 10 floors will be added on later.

As with its shopping centre investments, NSSA’s investments in housing have been spread around the country. There have been schemes in Kuwadzana and Glaudina in Harare and in Shamva, Chegutu, Bulawayo, Norton and Marondera. Its latest housing scheme is in Masvingo.

Talking Social Security is published weekly by the National Social Security Authority as a public service. There is also a weekly radio programme on social security, PaMhepo neNSSAEmoyeni leNSSA, which is normally broadcast at 6.50pm every Thursday on Radio Zimbabwe and Friday on National FM but which this week is a phone-in programme on Radio Zimbabwe on Thursday beginning at 6.30pm. Readers can e-mail issues to mail@mhpr.co.zw or text them to 0772-307913. Those with individual queries should contact their local NSSA office or telephone NSSA on (04) 7065235, 7065459, or 7990301.

Source : The Herald