The Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers has welcomed the recently approved $25 million loan by the African Development Bank to Zambia National Building Society (ZNBS) meant for institutional capacity.

In a statement today, ZUFIAW President Ackim Mweemba noted the loan which was also aimed at financing of affordable housing in Zambia was timely, adding that housing was an integral part for the livelihood of all households.

He expressed confidence that ZNBS, being a public institution, would offer relatively lower lending rates that would resonate well with government’s program of inclusive development.

“In sight of the above development, we would like to encourage workers in the country, especially our members, to take advantage of this great opportunity and access funding for their housing projects. Taking cognisant of the fact that the current lending rates in Zambia have been very high, making it difficult for employees to access mortgages. It is our sincere hope that, Zambia National Building Society (ZNBS) being a public institution, will offer relatively low rates that will resonate well with the Government’s program of inclusive development,” Mweemba stated.

“Further, housing has a direct positive impact on the land market and on a range of professional services such as, real estate broking, conveyancing, construction, valuation and indeed marketing. The facility does not only resonate well with the AfDB’s agenda, of inclusive growth in African countries, more especially those whose mortgage markets are still underdeveloped, but also affords an opportunity for low to medium income earners in Zambia, to access affordable mortgage finance which has always been a challenge.”

Mweemba urged ZNBS not to be impartial in granting the loans, arguing that ZUFIAW as a labour movement believed in the shared values and culture of fairness in granting equal access to facilities by all the citizens.

“We are also hopeful as a Labour Movement that ZNBS shall continue with their shared values and culture of fairness in granting equal access to the facility by all the citizens. The benefits of these loans must not be, a preserve of a selected few “especially the elite” but open to all deserving individuals who qualify to access the facility. In Zambia today, low-middle income earners have had limited access to affordable financing to the extent that, their needs have not been adequately catered for by the commercial banks,” stated Mweemba.

“That said, we further wish to urge ZNBS management not to forget their own employees as they disburse these funds to the public. As ZUFIAW, we shall be alert in monitoring the social and economic impact that this particular funding will bring to the low-middle income earners, including our members and to the nation as a whole.”