Govt’s 450 000 housing units target in limbo:Watchdog

Daniel Garwe

GOVERNMENT’S ambitions to build over 450 000 housing units by 2025 now hang in the balance as the 2023 national budget allocation for the programme is insufficient, a policy research watchdog has observed.

In a budget analysis, research watchdog Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) said the proposed allocation of $27,7 billion (US$34,6 million) on housing was paltry.

“The proposed allocation is not sufficient to fulfil governments ambitions of 450 000 housing units and the policy priorities stipulated in the Zimbabwe National Human Settlement Policy such as effective human settlement delivery, settlement financing, regularisation of informal settlement, urban regeneration and renewal, rural settlement and social amenities,” the Zimcodd report read.

“Access to social amenities in urban and rural areas remains low, with the government failing to fulfil the 63% access benchmark stipulated in the National Development Strategy 1 for the year 2022. Infrastructure dilapidation and gaps have not spared social amenities which are now dilapidated.”

Last month, National Housing minister Daniel Garwe said the country’s housing backlog in urban areas had ballooned to two million, with the majority of the rural population either using pit latrines or practising open defecation.

Zimcodd urged government to focus on building high-rise housing apartments.

“It is ironic that in 2020, the government only utilised 17% of the funds allocated to National Housing and Amenities, while the majority of Zimbabweans do not have decent accommodation.”

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