The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: NSSA's New Bank to Focus On Housing

THE National Social Security Authority has appointed Deloitte and Touché to process papers for its application for a micro-finance bank licence that will have an initial capital of $50 million. The new bank will focus on low cost houses to be priced at about $6 000 per unit. NSSA general manager, Mr James Matiza told The Herald Business in an interview that Deloitte and Touche are currently compiling all the information on directors and operations of the new bank as required by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

"The requirements are stringent now due to the bank failures so the RBZ wants to ensure that those appointed directors are men and women of repute but there is some urgency on the matter," said Mr Matiza.

Mr Matiza said NSSA and the Ministry of Local Government have prepared a position paper requesting Government to release cheap land for the authority to construct houses to sell at not more than $6 000 per unit.

"We have already prepared a paper with the Local Government Ministry, where we are saying if we get cheap land, we will construct cheap houses for the low income earners," said Mr Matiza.

He said NSSA will hold 100 percent ownership of the bank.

NSSA will transfer $50 million or 10 percent of the authority's portfolio structure, as capital for the new bank.

Mr Matiza said the new micro-finance bank will take over the authority's housing projects once it is registered.

Currently NSSA is developing 683 residential stands in Runyararo West in Masvingo among many other real estate initiatives ongoing countrywide.

"Once the bank is registered, we will officially value and transfer all the land we hold in Chinhoyi, Karoi, Chegutu, Kwekwe and in other areas around the country," said Mr Matiza.

He said setting up a micro-finance bank was cheaper since it requires only $5 million capital compared to starting a building society which requires $80 million capital by 2020.

"It is for this reason that the board decided that we can serve the same purpose through the micro-finance bank. The bank will offer other banking service but will focus primarily on housing development," said Mr Matiza.

In the national budget, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa called on the Minister for Local Government and National Housing, Ignatious Chombo, to make land available in cities, towns and growth points for housing development.

He said treasury will facilitate the mobilisation of resources for the purpose of planning, surveying and servicing of land for the development of housing stands.

"As part of implementing the National Housing Policy, Government continues to leverage on land and the National Housing Fund to attract private capital for housing development throughout the country," said Minister Chinamasa.

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