500k civil servants apply for Govt housing scheme

Source: 500k civil servants apply for Govt housing scheme | The Herald January 12, 2017

Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter
More than 500 000 civil servants in need of stands have so far applied for stands under the residential stands scheme being worked on by Government, as efforts are being made to ensure that the project kick-starts by March this year, an official said yesterday.

The empowerment tool is part of Government’s non-monetary incentive for civil servants and intends to fulfil the goals spelt out in the Zim-Asset economic blueprint.

Under Zim-Asset, Government aims to provide 300 000 housing units by 2018. Officials from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and civil servants’ unions met yesterday to finalise on designs and costs of the housing scheme.

Speaking during the meeting, the secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Engineer George Mlilo said they would want the programme to start by March when they would have put all orders and other mechanisms in place.

“We have had interested groupings claiming to do housing for civil servants and all of them have failed, but this would succeed because it has everybody involved in it.

“So far, we estimate that about 500 000 people have so far responded. We have got civil servants, uniformed services, retirees, Members of Parliament, judges, commissioners. They have all responded and are still responding,” he said.

Eng Mlilo said they would come up with a price, which was user-friendly and customised to meet with the obligation that they had.

“We have got all the inputs from people around and everybody, and we expect this to continue. We should be able to deliver in the shortest possible time. This is not a political gimmick. It is really a process for house delivery. It’s part of our Zim-Asset obligation to deliver housing to improve the livelihoods of our people, and we can only do that when we work together,” he said.

Eng Mlilo said they would ensure that they deliver serviced residential stands, with roads, water and sewer provided. He said they expected contributions by employees on a monthly basis from their employers to the tune of not less than $15 million and $20 million a month.

Apex Council chairperson, Mrs Cecilia Alexander said they have been working with the ministry since they started the project and that the workers had been able to also make decisions at every stage.

Mrs Alexander said progress on the programme was at an advanced stage and they recently received a number of designs of flats where their members are supposed to make decisions on which designs they would want.

“But we are saying, we strongly feel the prices are still on the high side and we are still negotiating. As Apex Council, we represent all civil servants including those that earn below the poverty datum line.

“We are saying this project should benefit even those ordinary civil servants. I know we are going to work together with the Ministry of Local Government to make sure that there are significant reductions on the costs,” she said.

Government has pegged the stands at $4 per square metre to ensure affordability, with an additional $1 going towards administration fees. All payments will be made through the Salary Services Bureau.