IN the past couple of years Zambian residents have been struggling with escalating housing rentals as demand for housing has kept rising even as more houses are being built.
It is apparent that the capital city is attracting more people than the rate at which houses are being built and this means there is more demand on housing.
Today we are hearing about gated housing complexes or compounds and in most cases the houses cost millions of Kwacha to buy or build therein.
But it is also common knowledge that not every Zambian can afford amounts of K300 million or above because of various economic challenges which many Zambians face.
Many Zambian banks are exorbitant and it is common knowledge that the interest rates in this country are extremely high such that people are scared of getting loans.
It is therefore heartening to hear that First Quantum Minerals (FQM) is working on creating a national credit institute that will offer home buyers rates as low as eight percent.
Zambia is currently facing a housing backlog of about 1,500 houses and any plans to address this problem are welcome and timely because this will address the high residential costs being experienced.
According to FQM, the creation of a mortgage will accelerate bridging Zambia’s 1.5 million housing gap and ensure that more people have access to finance for housing.
FQM says the creation of the mortgage will be driven by the firm’s Kabitaka Hills Housing Development Corporation in Solwezi and Kalumbila Town Development Corporation at Kalumbila.
The company is currently in discussion with various international and local partners to create a national mortgage credit institute that should be able to reset the mortgage industry in Zambia.
We welcome this development because most Zambians are failing to access mortgages to build houses at affordable interest rates.
Shelter is very important to human beings because it offers them protection and this is why even the Government is planning to recapitalise Zambia National Building Society so that it can extend more funds to people to build houses.
President Sata, when opening the National Assembly this year, also reiterated the need for the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to consider partnering with local and international investors to cushion the current national housing deficit.
It is good that FQM wants to become one of the private investors to move into this direction of helping people to own houses through affordable credit or mortgages.
We hope there will be other private firms that can consider joining FQM in this venture so that more resources can be made available for people to borrow and build houses.
Whilst FQM is building houses for its employees, we hope that other companies can also emulate this gesture as it goes a long way in addressing Zambia’s housing deficit.
President Sata has promised to recapitalise ZNBS. He has also urged the local government to consider partnering with investors to cushion the housing deficit. Why can’t the other local and international investors come on board?