THE Government is this year expected to launch a scheme dubbed 'Build and own' to empower Zambians with affordable and conducive housing, Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela has said.
Mr Chitotela said the scheme would be part of the Government's plans to upgrade urban slums into habitable settlements for the people.
"We have already signed working agreements with various partners in the quest to alleviate the national housing deficit and with some, we have signed for the construction of 20,000 houses; others 5,000 and so on and so forth," Mr Chitotela said.
The minister said this in Lusaka on Monday when he featured on a ZNBC television live phone-in programme dubbed 'Government Forum'.
Mr Chitotela said no part of the country would be excluded from the programme as the Patriotic Front (PF) Government was determined to roll out an inclusive national growth.
He said significant strides had been recorded in enhancing Zambia's road network connectivity to other countries.
Mr Chitotela said construction of the Mpika-Chinsali-Nakonde Road and the Livingstone-Sesheke Road, connecting Zambia to Tanzania and Zambia to Angola, respectively, was on course.
He said once completed, the roads would boost cross-border trade and ease the cross-country movement of the people.
"Ours (Government) is about service before self and all Zambians, regardless of their geographic location will not be left out of the development agenda," Mr Chitotela said. "Where there is honey, there are always bees. So I appeal to our people to ignore detractors because His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu means well for this country."
Mr Chitotela clarified that the road toll fees remitted on toll gates were different from the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) levy as tolling fees did not apply to intra-city or municipal routes.
Meanwhile, callers to the programme hailed President Lungu for the development that the Government was undertaking in the country.
Mubalu Sindila of Mazabuka in Southern Province said he was happy with the Government's building of roads and expediting, and sustaining such programmes had multi-sectoral benefits for the country.
Simeon Banda of Chipata shared the same sentiments with Mr Sindila, while stressing the importance of the Chipata-Chadiza Road in Eastern Province.