Title deeds for rural houses

Government intends to raise $150 million from the market through Treasury Bonds (T-bonds) issued via the Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp) in order to bankroll a five-year housing development project for both rural and urban communities.

A Treasury Bond is a long-term fixed interest rate debt security issued by Government and backed by its full faith and credit.

The T-bonds have reportedly attracted foreign and local investors.

Government has already started decongesting places such as Messengers Camps in Highfield and Makokoba in Bulawayo.

Construction has also begun in Tafara and Manresa (Harare East) and will be completed by year-end.

Plans are also underway to build new flats in Mbare to replace the old ones.

Government intends to push back the housing backlog, which presently stands at 1,3 million.

Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Mr George Magosvongwe said beneficiaries of the houses will get title deeds upon assuming ownership.

“It is going to be a multi-faceted project, with multiplicity of players. The main players will obviously be the Government of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“As for the financiers, some of them have already come forward. The private sector, in form of the suppliers of the building materials, has also come forward. Government has also been talking to banks to partner Government. We do not want to eat into agriculture land, so we will construct high-rise buildings.

“Udcorp has also availed Treasury Bonds for the programme. The houses will be built nationwide, thus we have already put in place national and provincial committees that will be on the ground.

“We also want these houses to have title deeds regardless of where they will be situated. At the moment, title deeds are only being issued to those in urban areas,” said Mr Magosvongwe.

A number of ministries are understood to be working on a comprehensive human settlement programme to provide the enabling off-site and on-site infrastructure that is needed.

Urban planning expert Mr Nyasha Mutsindikwa said it addition to fulfilling a social obligations, Government should also consider ways of generating revenues from the ventures.

“Government can also create a business from the project by investing in rental houses,” he said.

“It is a business that can help with generating revenue for Government.

“It is also imperative that the housing units be located in an area that has economic significance.

“What needs to be done is for Government to go back and gather information on who really needs accommodation, in which areas can the housing units be constructed and the beneficiaries of the houses.

“Such information is crucial in reaping economic benefits in the future.”

Addressing the Zanu-PF Youth Convention in Gweru on Thursday, President Mnangagwa said it is possible to build 1,2 million housing units through investments that could be mobilised from both local and foreign investors.

“When we have put our own Government after July 30, we have programmes to improve housing in the next five years,” the President said.

He said the construction 1,2 million new housing units in the next five years is achievable.

“Some are saying it is impossible, but it’s very possible. Remember Government is not working alone, we are attracting foreign companies who are willing to invest in houses. Houses pay for themselves.”

Most urban areas in the country have been witnessing the mushrooming of illegal settlements, which lack essential services such as potable water and sewer, leading to cholera and typhoid outbreaks.

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