The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has underwritten $25 million mortgages through its banking unit, the National Building Society (NBS). NSSA regional contributions, collections and compliance manager Agnes Chikwavaire told a bankers conference in Nyanga recently that apart from the various projects the authority has funded so far, there were many other projects in the pipeline targeting low to medium income earners.
"There are many housing projects in the pipeline. We expect to bring at least 1 000 new houses on the market by December 2017," said Mrs Chikwavaire.
As part of their contribution to the budding small to medium enterprises, Mrs Chikwavaire said the authority was also considering developing an SME park for small businesses to market their products and services. Apart from financial constraints, one of the major challenges affecting the SME sector is infrastructure deficiencies and NSSA's intentions are to bridge the gap.
This also comes as property firms have of late bemoaned high voids in commercial properties especially in the central business district as established companies downsize operations, close or relocate to cheaper alternatives. As a result, some property firms have resorted to remodelling their businesses to cater for the SME sector.
"Plans for an SME park are being considered," said Mrs Chikwavaire adding this would also help attract SMEs to operate within the formal confines of business. Investing in assets that resonate with the needs of informal sector workers can be used as one way to attract the informal sector and contribute to the general development of Zimbabwe. Infrastructure development has become part of the investment strategies of institutional investors across the globe and has yielded considerable profits."
NSSA has done several property development projects among them the Glaudina housing project in Harare, Rusike in Marondera, Gimboki in Mutare, Runyararo West in Masvingo and Lower Rangemore in Bulawayo. This is in addition to office parks in Harare and shopping malls in Chipinge, Bindura, Mutare and Gwanda.