By A Correspondent –
IN a move that could accelerate bridging Zambia’s 1,5 million housing backlog, First Quantum Minerals (FQM) is spearheading the creation of a national mortgage credit institute that will offer home buyers rates as low as eight per cent.
The creation of the mortgage institute is driven by the mining company’s special-purpose vehicles – Kabitaka Hills Housing Development Corporation (KHHDC) in Solwezi where its flagship operation Kansanshi Mine is located and Kalumbila Town Development Corporation (KTDC) at Kalumbila, 150 kilometres west of the North-Western provincial capital where FQM is constructing the $2 billion Sentinel Mine.
“With the Kalumbila and Kabitaka approaches, we have proved that taking the concepts of providing quality and affordable housing to a larger scale can serve as a springboard to address the housing deficit in Zambia,” says KTDC manager Kevin Thomas.
“We are in discussion with various international and local players to create a national mortgage credit institute that will effectively reset the mortgage industry in Zambia.”
The move by FQM finds resonance with President Michael Sata’s call at the opening of the 11th National Assembly when he urged the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to explore various partnerships and investments to cushion the current national housing deficit.
The Government estimates a backlog of 1.5 million units across the country, and recommends an annual delivery of 15,000 units to meet the demand in the next 10 years.
Facing the most critical shortage are Copperbelt and North-Western provinces where mining activities have resurged. The creation of new provinces and districts has also increased the housing demand.
“Pursuing a model where our employees and others own the home they occupy goes at the company’s core belief that home ownership unlocks wealth for the nation. Ample statistics demonstrate that most businesses in the Western world are started by homeowners who use their homes as collateral,” Mr Thomas said.
“We have already kicked off with an initial 650 housing units at Kalumbila, pending land title to proceed with an estimated 10,000 units.”
Both Kalumbila and Kabitaka are modelled with cluster-style homes, commercial and social facilities that include schools, business parks, shopping malls and office blocks. The housing projects were expected to cost FQM an estimated US$500 million.