HomeNewsLafarge to build 1 000 low-cost houses

Lafarge to build 1 000 low-cost houses

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LAFARGE Cement Zimbabwe plans to roll out 1 000 low-cost housing units in partnership with local financial institutions, a move that is expected to help ease housing shortages, a company executive has said.

TARISAI MANDIZHA
BUSINESS REPORTER

Zimbabwe has a housing backlog of 1,5 million people — a third of which are in Harare.

Speaking at the launch of the company’s new cement product in Harare, Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe marketing manager Edith Matakaire said the housing project would be launched during the course of the year.

“It’s in progress . . . we are partnering financial institutions, contractors plus Lafarge ourselves as the building material supplier to build affordable houses,” Matakaire said. “We are looking at building over 1 000 housing units and we are trying to make it very affordable, for not more than $20 000.”

She said the group had already signed agreements with the financial institutions and other technical partners and would soon be launching the groundbreaking ceremony.

Matakaire said Lafarge would provide the architects, material and also co-ordinate with the banks to provide credit finance.

She added that the project will be different from the others as this was specifically for low-income earners.

“The discussions and the negotiations are still ongoing. The budget is still with the finance institutions because they manage the finance part of the project and Lafarge manage the technical part and the materials supply part,” she said.

Matakaire also said the project size was determined by the number of people interested, how long the loan facilities could be and how much finance can be given as credit from the banks.

“This is why we are saying we need to partner with financial institutions that can bring in money at affordable rates so that each unit will not cost more than $20 000,” she said.

Statistics from the Zimbabwe Association of Housing Finance — a grouping of Central African Building Society, CBZ Bank, FBC Bank and ZB Building Society — showed that mortgage lending had grown by 29% to $84 million last year.

A number of banks are turning to mortgages to enjoy tax benefits.

According to the new economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic transformation (Zim Asset), government plans to construct
125 000 housing units by 2018.

This would be attained through the provision of housing stands, strengthening of public-private sector partnerships and recapitalisation of the National Housing and National Guarantee Fund, among others.

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