Zimbabwe’s urban housing shortage has topped 1 million, a figure that is expected to rise by at least 5% every year, leader of the parliamentary committee on housing has said.
Lovemore Mupukuta, chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and National Housing told Parliament on Tuesday that it had become a serious challenge for poor citizens to secure decent and affordable accommodation in urban areas.
The development, he said, was exposing millions of people to countless health hazards.
Muputuka said dynamism in the housing and construction sectors was a key indicator as well as a critical primer of economic development.
Civil servants, he said, required decent accommodation and tenure to the properties they lived in.
The housing ministry was allocated $16,2 million in the 2011 Budget. Of this amount $12,3 million was allocated to the National Housing Fund which advances loans to individuals, local authorities and community-based organisations for development of housing infrastructure.
“Establishment of this fund and completion of government projects is commended as it will improve access to decent housing for lodgers, slum dwellers and civil servants,” said Muputuka.
As a result, he said, the ministry would pursue a pro-poor housing and social amenities policy thrust, which resonated with the vision of a “fair economy” the 2011 Budget framework espouses.
“To address the challenge of housing shortage, the ministry’s work will focus on leveraging provision of on-site and bulk off-site services and construction of core houses.
The MP said during the constitution-making exercise, the ministry of national housing facilitated stakeholder input on the declaration of housing as a basic right.
The Gokwe-Mapfungautsi MP lamented the non-provision for the Social Amenities sub-vote and the delayed disbursement of the 2010 allocation.
He said under the 2011 Budget, allocation for institutional accommodation only covered five of the 31 urban settlements with the rural civil servants hardest hit, not having received any attention in the 2011 Budget.
Mupukuta said shortage of institutional accommodation was more serious in new districts like Mbire, Mhondoro-Ngezi, Bulilima and Mangwe. He adding that budgetary allocations for these areas would have alleviated accommodation constraints.