ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
NATIONAL Housing Authority (NHA) says the transformation of roadside markets into integrated economic hubs has delayed due to lack of finances and availability of land.
In 2015, Vice-President Inonge Wina launched the Jubilee Women’s Highway Markets Initiative programme aimed at building 10 Jubilee markets along highways in all provinces in the country within three years.
NHA director of projects Anderson Zulu said the estimated cost for one market is about US$5 million. However, depending on size and support, through public private partnership arrangements, the cost can come down.
Mr Zulu said in an interview recently that the initiative is expected to help women marketeers across the country to create wealth through roadside markets, in a clean and safe environment.
“Mrs Wina was concerned about the welfare of women who trade along highways. She took time to visit these areas to see how women operate in these markets without the necessary amenities,” he said.
Mr Zulu said the courtesy call Mrs Wina paid on traders at John Chinena Market in Chibombo birthed the Jubilee Women’s Highway Markets Initiative.
“We have done some preliminary studies already and our target is to start with the market in Chibombo. However, what is holding the project is funding, and unfortunately, most of the land in these areas is in private hands, so we need to negotiate,” he said.
Mr Zulu said NHA is providing consultation services for the construction of the markets.
He said once funding is available, Government will in the initial stage build highway markets in Southern, Eastern, Central, Copperbelt and Western Provinces.
Mr Zulu is hopeful that the initiative will stimulate socio-economic development of the women and their families.