PRESIDENT Michael Sata has directed the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to explore means of addressing the current housing deficit.
Additionally, President Sata said in 2014, Government would recapitalise the Zambia National Building Society in order to provide mortgages to the people for the construction of houses.
Mr Sata said the country had been experiencing a critical housing deficit, which had resulted in scarce and expensive accommodation for Zambians.
President Sata said this in Lusaka yesterday during the official opening of the third session of the 11th National Assembly.
“The country has been experiencing a huge housing deficit, which has resulted in scarce and expensive accommodation for our people. I am, therefore, directing the Minister of Local Government and Housing to explore various partnerships and investment to cushion the current national housing deficit,” Mr Sata said.
He said consultations on the development of the National Social Protection Policy to guide the implementation of social safety nets aimed at cushioning the poor and vulnerable groups, had advanced and would be concluded soon.
“The policy will streamline the implementation of the Social safety net programmes and rationalise the use of resources to achieve maximum impact. The development of this policy must be expedited to compensate for the removal of subsidies on fuel and maize by the government this year,” he said.
Mr Sata said Government would continue to implement the national policy on disability to guide programmes for persons with disabilities so as to enable them to lead productive, fulfilled and dignified lives.
The policy would ensure that disability issues were mainstreamed in all sector plans and programmes.
He said Government would scale up interventions aimed at accelerating rural development in order to improve people’s living standards.
The Head of State said to ensure that the rural areas were connected to electricity supply, Government was constructing mini-hydro power stations and to this effect, construction of the mini-hydro power station in Shiwang’andu had already been completed.
Government, he said, would continue supporting the rural electrification programme aimed at connecting rural communities such as chiefs’ palaces, schools and health centres to the power grid.
He said in order to boost access to financial services in the rural areas Government would next year recapitalise the National Savings and Credit Bank to provide affordable finance to the people.
He said consultations with relevant stakeholders across the country, including the House of Chiefs on the introduction of legislation to govern customary land had been undertaken and a bill would be tabled before Parliament in due course.
Mr Sata said Government had commenced a comprehensive labour law review programme to update laws in light of changes in work places.
He said this was aimed at addressing bad labour practices, such as casualisation and unfavourable conditions of service.
On the improved salaries for public service workers, President Sata said this signified Government continued commitment to fulfill its promise of ‘more money in people’s pockets.’