31 January 2013

Zambia: Three Top Stores Eye Solwezi Mall

FIRST Quantum Minerals Limited (FQM) has said three multinational stores are ready to put up a shopping mall in Solwezi following the increase in the mining and related business activities in the area.

But the plan by the multinational chain stores is being hampered by the failure to secure land title from the FQM-owned Kansanshi Mining Plc due to the slow process of land transfer in the country.

Kansanshi Mining Plc assistant general manager Alan Delaney named Shoprite Stores and Pick 'n Pay as among the three who had made enquiries on putting up a mall but had failed to get the land required for the project.

"The process of getting land here in Zambia is quite complicated and very slow, we as a mine had struggled to get land and three chain stores have enquired about putting up a shopping mall here in Solwezi but we are unable to transfer some part of our land to them.

"Property market is key for the economic development, we need to have an efficient and quick process of registration of transfer of land title and I mean it should not take more than three months, but here in Zambia it takes two years," he said.

The shopping mall would be the first of its kind in North-Western Province. He said in Zambia, only 10 per cent of the land was available as leasehold and almost none was freehold, adding that only 10 per cent of the value of the country had any collateral value.

FQM's director of operation Matt Pascall said new towns like Solwezi had no efficient survey and registration of land parcels, a situation he said led to repeated sale of the same land by different organs like the council, the relevant ministry and individual officials.

He said if owning land was made easier, citizens would be given a boost in becoming wealthy as the pieces of land or property acquired would be used as collateral security when getting a loan from the banking institutions.

"In the USA, 85 per cent of the business started with offering land as collateral to the bank in order to access funds, this is the way to go," he said.

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