SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERATION OF FREE TRADE UNIONS OF ZAMBIA (FFTUZ)
MR. CHINGATI MSISKA
DURING THE PANORAMA GROUP OF COMPANIES GROUND BREAKING CEREMONY
DATE: 21ST SEPTEMBER, 2021
The Vice President Guest and Company Lottery- PANORAMA GROUP OF COMPA
The Director Africa PANORAMA Group of Companies,
The President – Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
Presidents and General Secretaries from FFTUZ and ZCTU Affiliate Members
Senior Government Officials Present
Members of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen; All Protocols Observed
Guest of Honour, Ladies and Gentlemen: Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) wishes to take this opportunity to thank Leadership and management at PANORAMA Group of Companies-Africa for this initiative and partnership with various Trade Unions in the country.
Ladies and Gentlemen: FFTUZ acknowledges that like many governments in the Global South, Zambia struggles with the provision of affordable housing. The national housing deficit stands at more than two (2) million units and is compounded by rapid population growth and continued rural to urban migration. Existing policies and legal corpus have been ineffective in ensuring access to land, housing finance, and security of tenure, building materials, skilled labour, infrastructure and urban services. Furthermore, conditions of service and employment policies have not been responsive to home ownership needs of the workers in both public and private sectors in the country. Specific employment policies would, therefore, need to be put in place to promote home ownership for workers in low income brackets in both public and private sectors.
Ladies and Gentlemen: FFTUZ is also aware that due to low incomes, over two thirds of Zambians will need to spend more than the global affordability threshold of 30 to 40 percent of income to access quality housing. According to Centre for Affordable Housing Financing in Africa (CAHF), in 2015, the average household income needed to buy the cheapest house in Zambia is US$ 36, 960. Yet the current average annual household income was only US$5,102, and the cheapest newly built house by a formal developer costs US$ 65000. In the same vein, Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Review (ZIPAR), in 2015 estimated that low income households in urban areas can afford a house costing between ZMK 61 300 and ZMK 100 000 (US$6,584 – US$10,741), while households in rural areas can afford a house costing ZMK 24 900 (US$2,674).
These trends of expenditures on house construction have shifted upwards due to cost of building materials and this disadvantages the workers especially those in low income brackets. This is our main source of concern as a Federation. We need to find a lasting solution to ensure that workers are empowered with own accommodation.
In this regard, ‘The New Dawn Government’ under the leadership of His Excellency Mr. Hakainde Hichilema would need to urgently work on economic stabilization and ensure that the cost of living for all Zambians is lowered. Many of our workers are sliding into ‘Working Poor’ classification – meaning that many workers in both public and private sectors would not afford to buy or construct a house; and thus, this kind of initiative would need support from the government.
The Panorama Group of Companies Ground Breaking Ceremony we are witnessing today, is a step in the right direction in empowering workers with accommodation which essentially translates into sustainable economic and home ownership empowerment of workers.
Ladies and Gentlemen: FFTUZ wish to call on Employers and all Social Security Institutions to support workers and their members respectively, with the means of financing long term personal or housing loans to enable workers especially those in lower income brackets to own houses through Trade Unions’ and Employers partnership with PANORAMA Group of Companies. We also wish to call on our affiliate members to take advantage of this partnership and ensure that their members benefit from this arrangement.
Thanking you and God Bless You.
 At currency rates of US$ 1 = ZMK 16.5 | 21/09/21
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