ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
A BELGIAN firm has partnered with the National Housing Authority (NHA) to construct a building materials factory and 3,000 houses at the Lusaka South Multi-facility Economic Zone (LS-MFEZ) at a cost of about €300 million.
However, the multi-million euro project, which is expected to start this year, awaits approval by the relevant authorities.
The project will be implemented by the NHA in partnership with Optistruct Engineering and General Contractors (Zambia), a subsidiary of a Belgian firm that will finance the project.
NHA director for projects Anderson Zulu said the two firms have engaged the Office of Secretary to the Cabinet, Public Service Pension Funds, and is currently in talks with various ministries, local authorities and parastatals to introduce the ‘Rent-to-own’ project.
In an interview over the weekend, Mr Zulu said the project will enable civil servants and the public to sign up as off-takers, which is an agreement between a producer of a resource and a buyer of a resource to purchase or sell portions of the producer’s future production.
“As soon as the human resource departments in the various institutions are approached, buy in the scheme and modalities put in place, then off-takers will begin to register for ‘Rent-to-own’ project.
“Optistruct has sourced the project and mortgage funds from Belgium to build a factory at LS-MFEZ for the production of building materials, and provide the modern fast technology for housing construction while NHA will provide off-takers, assist in securing land in Lusaka and surrounding areas within 200 kilometres radius and consultancy services,” he said.
Mr Zulu said the firm is marketing the project products after the funds have been secured, land identified, designs and costing completed.
Under the first phase, the construction of 3,000 houses of various categories, including the factory, will cost slightly over €300 million.
“The initial requirement for the project is to have at least 3,000 off-takers to sign up from Lusaka and surrounding areas for rent-to-own scheme of rentals ranging from K2,000 to K7,000 per month for 10, 15 and 20 years respectively,” he said.
Currently, about 90 percent of the urban population live in rented houses that are not serviced with tarred roads, sewer and water mains.
He cited the cost of mortgages and loans as the major challenges that limit the public’s aspirations to own decent houses.