NANCY SIAME, Lusaka
VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina says Government is actively dealing with the housing challenges the country is faced with.
Mrs Wina said Government is reviewing the national housing policy of 1996 to make it relevant to the prevailing challenges.
â€œThis is a consultative process aimed at ensuring that all relevant stakeholders participate in this important process of re-aligning our housing policy,â€ she said.
She said this in Lusaka yesterday during the launch of the Zambia National Building Society (ZNBS) womenâ€™s mortgage promotion.
Mrs Wina said Government has also increased funding towards housing, water and sanitation from 0.7 percent in 2014 to 1.7 percent in the 2015 national budget.
â€œTo deal with this challenge, we need to build a minimum of 150,000 housing units per year by 2030,â€ Mrs Wina said.
Mrs Wina said the rise in housing deficit is foreseen by the estimated rise in Zambiaâ€™s population to about 23 million by the next 15 years.
Government said recently that the countryâ€™s housing deficit will reach about three million by 2030.
She said the promotion will contribute towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal number three of promoting gender equality and empowerment.
â€œGovernment is aware of the challenges that people, especially women, face in accessing land,â€ Mrs Wina said.
Mrs Wina said lack of titled land for most women has remained a hindrance from accessing housing finance.
She urged all relevant authorities to ensure that the policy decision to allocate 30 percent of both State and traditional land to women, which has not been adhered to, is implemented.
â€œI am, therefore, urging all relevant government departments responsible for land alienation to ensure that these processes are made easier for people,â€ Mrs Wina said.
Mrs Wina said there is need to stop the culture of councillors and party caders sharing land among themselves as it is supposed to be equally distributed among all Zambians.
Speaking at the same function, Bank of Zambia deputy governor Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula said the womenâ€™s mortgage promotion answers the central bankâ€™s call to all financial sector players to step up their financial awareness campaign for the country to have a financially-included population.
Dr Kankasa-Mabula said the bank has placed financial inclusion of women on its top agenda.
â€œOur desire as a bank is to see all Zambians regardless of social status and age have access to financial services,â€ she said.
And ZNBS board chairman Goodwell Kapema said the promotion, which will run for two months, will see women enjoy a reduced rate of 14 percent.
Mr Kapema said the aim of the promotion is to accelerate ZNBSâ€™s mandate of providing quality affordable and sustainable mortgage finance and financial services for the benefit of clients, stakeholders and general public.
â€œWomen receive very little support in their efforts to access financial resources and often do not know about their rights to seek financial services,â€ he said.
And SITEMBILE SIWAWA reports that Habitat for Humanity and Standard Chartered Bank have commissioned the building of two houses for two families in Lusakaâ€™s Kamanga township.
Habitat for Humanity board chairperson Douglas Katengo said the organisation is committed to uplifting the living standards of people, particularly women.
He was speaking at the 2015 Standard Chartered Women Build initiative in Lusaka yesterday.
One of the beneficiaries, Lizzy Tolomeyo, commended the two organisations for building a house for her.
â€œI never knew I would ever live in a brick-and-cement house as I have always lived in a mud-and-pole house. Itâ€™s a dream come true,â€ she said.
And First Lady Esther Lungu has observed that the housing deficit in the country has become a critical issue that needs urgent attention from Government and stakeholders.
She commended Government over the land policy that has helped improve access to land by women.
She said statistics show that more women are now accessing and owning land.
Speaking at the same event, Munali member of Parliament Nkandu Luo commended Habitat for Humanity and Standard Chartered Bank for helping in the alleviation of poverty in her constituency.
Professor Luo, who is also Minister of Gender and Child Development, said Kamanga faces a lot of challenges.
NANCY SIAME, Lusaka