The government is in negotiations with an international financier in order to deal with the ballooning national housing backlog.
The absence of both public and private sector financial capacity to service adequate land for housing development, compounded by rural-urban migration, has resulted in the housing backlog topping more than one million.
Presenting his 2012 National Budget on Friday, Finance minister Tendai Biti said he was happy to note local building societies had started providing mortgage financing for various private housing development schemes.
“Negotiations for an external housing mortgage facility are also underway, targeted towards housing construction projects and the recovery of construction in general,” said Biti.
The Finance minister allocated $9 million for ongoing housing development projects under the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe
The funds would be complemented by recoveries from sale of stands and housing units.
He further allocated $6,4 million towards housing development projects under the Ministry of National Housing.
“Government unable to complete a number of public projects, resulting in shortage of office space and recourse to rented offices at high rentals,” he said.
Biti said public-private partnership arrangements are an effective avenue of spearheading various development projects in the country.
He said this was particularly so, given the huge quantum of financial resources required, which are clearly beyond the government’s capacity.
The Estate Agents’ Council chairperson Oswald Nyakunika last week said lack of significant mortgage lending was curtailing recovery of the property sector and predicted an upsurge in the number of properties that would be auctioned if market situation persists.
The country has endured a protracted mortgage stress that set in at the turn of the decade when savings started dropping steeply, aggravating over the years and eventually slumping in 2008.
Biti also challenged the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) investment interventions to support programmes that were closer to the hearts of its key constituency.
“As government, we are concerned that NSSA investments are not being loyal to key issues that affect workers, particularly housing and public infrastructure,” he said.