Editor's Comment

Decent accommodation critical

ZAMBIA is facing a serious housing deficit which has made accommodation very expensive as people struggle to raise money for rentals  or to build their own houses.
Government has projected that Zambia will experience a housing deficit of over three million units by 2030 if no serious intervention is made.
It is estimated that Zambia’s population will be in excess of 23 million by 2030.
Currently the country’s housing deficit is estimated at about 1.3 million houses, which has caused demand of housing to exceed supply and making accommodation expensive.
This is why the announcement by Government that it has prioritised the provision of decent housing to Zambians is most timely and must be commended.
We welcome this commitment by Government to step up the provision of decent housing because this will ensure that poverty is reduced and it will go a long way in uplifting the living standards of people.
But this is a mammoth task which should not be left to Government alone. It requires the active participation of the private sector.
Expectations of a better life in urban areas have caused rural- urban migration leading to the outstripping of the capacities of local authorities to deliver land and basic services for housing development.
Given the limited access to mortgages and other housing financial products, most Zambian households are unable to access decent shelter.
The result has been the proliferation of slums and squatter settlements in which people live under inhuman conditions and in  structures that are an eyesore.
The planned revision of the town and country planning legislation is expected to provide a framework for planning of development in cities and towns as this enables Government to look at the amount of available land for residential purposes, plot sizes and the permitted scale of development.
Currently, there is no doubt that most Zambians are living in unplanned settlements, which is not helping to address the issue of crippling poverty many  people are facing.
It is therefore important that Government partners with the private sector to address this critical shortage of housing which has caused rentals and the cost of building a house to be on the higher side.
Government has on several occasions appealed to the private sector to support its initiatives in raising the standard of living for Zambians across the country through provision of decent housing.
We would like to see a situation where the private sector actively plays a significant role of helping in the delivery of decent housing for citizens.
The rapid increase in population means there is need for more investment in the housing sector so that as many people as possible have access to decent accommodation.
When the country has enough housing stock, this will help in reducing the price of rentals and make the life of people more  affordable.
The Government must be supported by the private sector including building societies and banks.
We hope all stakeholders can rise to the challenge and help in the delivery of decent accommodation.

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