Zambian civil servants to get homes

Public Service Management Division (PSMD) Permanent Secretary Mr Ignatius Kashoka announced in Lusaka yesterday during the signing of the agreement between the government and ZNBS.

He said the interest rate for civil servants, as beneficiaries of the scheme would be charged at 15 percent, which was far much lower than the 27 percent most banks charged as minimum percentages.

Mr Kashoka said the loan scheme should not be viewed as a campaign gimmick for the ruling MMD as it had been on the cards since February last year.

“I am not a politician. As you know, my job is to ensure that government workers are well taken care of so that they discharge their duties diligently.

“I can, therefore, tell you that this scheme is not a political gimmick, especially that we started this programme in February last year and it was concluded two months ago,” Mr Kashoka said.

The Public Pension Fund (PPF) was also planning a similar scheme and had since approached a number of banks to facilitate such a venture that aimed at empowering civil servants.

Signing on behalf of government, Finance and National Planning permanent secretary in charge of financial management administration, Dr Wamundila-Mbikusita Lewanika said it was gratifying that the loan scheme had been revived.

The scheme was previously managed by the Ministry of Finance. It was later transferred to ZNBS in 1996 but it remained inoperative because of some administrative hiccups.

It was because of government’s desire to improve the living conditions of its employees that it had decided to revive the public service house loan scheme.

Public service workers under the civil service, teaching service, police and prisons service, judicial services and defence and security personnel would be eligible for the scheme.

Employees that had not previously benefited from the sale of government pool or council houses would benefit from the scheme.

Others were employees who obtained house loans or benefited from government house empowerment scheme three years after repayment of the loan or after the full payment for the government pool or council houses.

Application forms could be obtained from the permanent secretaries ‘ Times of Zambia.

or controlling officers in respective institutions.

Dr Lewanika said applicants would be required to complete form PSHL Number One and submit their applications through the respective permanent secretaries or controlling officers.

Applicants were expected to ensure that their application forms were accompanied by a sketch plan of a proposed building showing the location of the area.

Specification duly approved by the planning authority as well as proof in form of a copy of title deed that the officer was owner of the plot on which the house was proposed to be built was another requirement.

Dr Lewanika said a letter of offer from the seller of the house together with certified copies of the sellers’ title deeds as well as a copy of the applicants’ latest pay slip would also be required.

To ensure transparency and accountability, government had constituted a committee to approve all applications submitted through permanent secretaries or controlling officers to monitor the administration of the scheme.

He said government would issue a circular to provide details on the administration of the scheme.

ZNBS managing director Ms Noriana Muneku assured that total transparency would be ensured in the way the loan scheme would be administered.

She said she was happy that the ZNBS had been charged with the responsibility to manage the loan scheme which she said was long over.

September 2006
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