PRISCILLA MWILA, Lusaka
MINISTER of Labour and Social Security Joyce Simukoko has directed the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) to offload on the market its houses at Northgate Gardens in Lusaka by next month.
The houses were built at a cost of K200 million.
NAPSA has 316 houses while National Housing Authority has 49 at Northgate Gardens all of which were built about two years ago, but most of them are yet to be sold and are unoccupied.
Mrs Simukoko said after touring the houses yesterday that there is need for financial institutions to provide mortgages to civil servants and other workers to enable them to buy the houses.
“Our interest is to empower Zambian workers. We encourage employers to come up with measures that will help workers buy houses. Priority should be given to our workers and not foreigners.
“We are not asking NAPSA to suppress the prices, we know the houses were built at a huge cost. We will work with financial institutions to see how we can handle it,” she said.
Mrs Simukoko appealed to trade unions to ensure that they not only bargain for salary increments for workers but also see to it that employees are empowered with mortgages so that they can acquire houses before they retire.
And Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development Ronald Chitotela said the Public Service Management Division has been directed to identify workers who will be interested in buying the houses.
Mr Chitotela said the move will help reduce the over 1.3 million housing deficit Zambia is currently facing.
“We will give a long lease agreement to government workers who will be interested in renting the houses with a view to buying them. We want to empower our workers and ensure that they all retire with a roof over their heads,” he said.
Mr Chitotela also urged NAPSA to build affordable low-cost houses which middle-class people can afford to buy.
NAPSA director general Yollard Kachinga said the authority will have to finalise pending issues with Zesco, the Road Development Agency and water utility companies before offloading the houses on the market.