THE Government will start allocating land banks meant for commercial purposes after a land audit is concluded which is expected to commence in August this year, Lands Minister Wlybur Simuusa has said.
Mr Simuusa said his ministry would next month embark on a countrywide land audit to determine how much land was currently in use before it starts allocating it for development of industrial parks, processing plants, agriculture and related businesses.
He said recently that 20,000 hectares of land had been made available by the traditional chiefs throughout the country meant for the development of industrial parks, agro-related businesses and processing plants.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Simuusa said next month the Government would launch a land audit that would address the issues of plots, the land in use and the amount available for residential and commercial purposes.
Mr Simuusa said land audit was, in the long-run, meant to enable Zambians have easy access to land.
"With regard to the allocation of the land banks, we can only do that after the land audit is completed which will commence in August this year because we will then know how much land was in use as well as the land available," he said.
The minister said the land banks are meant for business entities to access for the purposes of developing industrial parks, tourism, processing plants and agro-related businesses.
He said the Government was targeting certain areas where the land banks should be created.
Last year, the Government had indicated that it was going to issue out land to enable the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to create land banks in the various parts of the country meant for the development of industrial activities.
Mr Simuusa said the Government would soon put in place a policy measure to govern the administration of land.
He said the policy direction would streamline the land delivery system in the country thereby stimulating industrial growth in the rural areas.
He explained that in Lusaka more than 2,000 hectares had been allocated for the development of the Lusaka South and Lusaka East Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZ).
"We will support any meaningful project that will bring development to this country and we will push for the policy direction with regard to land banks in order for the investment to take place throughout the country," he said.