Thousands of workers will over the next two weeks get housing loans from the National Social Security Authority’s Building Society established in 2015 to help low-income earners own homes.
The institution opens its doors soon, offering mortgages to workers registered with NSSA at low interest rates and with repayment periods of up to 25 years.
NSSA has also since released US$5 million to the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation for onward lending to some of the 10 000-plus retrenchees who lost jobs on three-month notices last year.
The loans will help retrenchees start up businesses.
NSSA general manager Mr Hashmon Matemera told The Sunday Mail that housing loan beneficiaries would be required to pay monthly instalments averaging US$200.
Comparatively, private sector mortgages range between US$25 000 and US$200 000, and home-seekers are supposed to make a 25 percent downpayment and then pay thousands every month over 10 years.
One has to be earning US$2 000-US$5 000 to qualify for the private schemes.
Mr Matemera said, “(The NSSA Building Society) is opening this month and our first branch is going to be at Karigamombe Centre in Harare. We are almost done with renovations; almost everything is in place.
“The main focus is to provide affordable housing to Nssa members in line with Zim-Asset. Therefore, anyone who is employed and is a NSSA member is eligible. Non-members cannot benefit as one cannot use NSSA money when they are not with us.”
Government wants to facilitate construction of 300 000 housing units by 2018 under a broad vision to ease rising accommodation demand.
The Housing Delivery Strategy feeds into Zim-Asset, targeting 105 935 units in Harare, 56 760 in Midlands, 28 772 in Matabeleland North, 23 818 in Mashonaland West, 21 830 in Manicaland, 20 269 in Masvingo, 16 607 in Mashonaland Central, 15 100 in Bulawayo, 12 500 in Matabeleland South and 11 776 in Mashonaland East.
On the other hand, the business start-up loan facility falls under Government’s employment creation policy and 10-Point Economic Growth Plan which speaks of “unlocking the potential of small to medium enterprises”.
Smedco is a State-owned development institution that promotes development of micro, small and medium enterprises and cooperatives through lending and capacity-building.
Mr Matemera said: “We have made an offer to Smedco under a three-year facility for lending to retrenchees with bankable project that meet our criteria.
“We are working on keeping the interest rate below 10 percent, and the maximum borrowing per person should be US$3 000 payable over a year.”
He also said, “People will borrow and then pay back. Smedco will thereafter lend to others and will also vet borrowers, ensuring they are retrenchees. This is a follow-up to a programme we once rolled out; the latest one is larger and better structured.
“Those affected by the July 17, 2015 court ruling are the main reason we came up with the facility. Our figures show that 14 000 people were retrenched last year alone, so we have reasoned that they will be able to sustain themselves if they are able to start their own projects.”