Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela says government raised US$53.9 million from road toll gates between January and December 2017.

Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s “Government Forum” on Monday, Chitotela also said his ministry had signed an MoU with Zhongmei engineering group limited of China to finance and build 20,000 “Rent to Own” housing units for civil servants.

He further disclosed that over K4 billion had been paid to road contractors by December 2017.

“I am glad to announce to the nation that from January 2017 to December 2017, we had raised up to US$53.9 million dollars translating to K538.803 438.7. So this is cash, this is money that I have been advising our fellow Zambian businessmen that road sector must not just be left to government alone, those with money can take up certain road projects, develop them and begin tolling them because that is a business opportunity,” Chitotela said.

“I can safely say in the road sector up to December, we have paid slightly above K4 billion to various road contractors. Except as you may be aware, we were paying and contractors were also working, so the debt also kept on accumulating but a serious commitment by government that from January to December we paid slight above K4 billion to various contractors that were involved; those that were engaged in the road sector and the district infrastructure. And of course we have also resolved that we minimise in terms of project launches so that we consolidate and concentrate on the already launched projects so that we complete them. Our desire is by 2018, some of the district infrastructure that we have embarked upon for ourselves should be able to be completed and launched so that the civil servants should be able to start utilising them,” Chitotela explained.

Meanwhile Chitotela said a memorundum of understanding had been signed between government and Zhongmei of China to finance and construct 20, 000 special housing units for civil servants.

“We signed an MoU with Zhongmei engineering group limited of China in August 2017 to finance and build 20,000 “Rent to Own” housing units for civil servants. Everything has been finalised and even the commercial contract has been signed and submitted to Ministry of Finance; hoping [that] before the end of this quarter, we should be able to launch the implementation of construction of these houses. We have also signed a memorandum of understanding with Mecri-Asset partners which we signed in July last year to finance and build 5, 000 houses. We have signed another memorandum of understanding with Chana Complete Engineering Corporation also to undertake feasibility study and detailed designing for the construction of the houses. We also signed with a bonded export of South Africa in July last year for the construction of another 20, 000 housing units in Zambia,” said Chitotela.

“For the first time we are launching this ‘Rent to Own’, immediately you start renting one month, also those who are on the deductible payroll, when your company just submits one month, it becomes your house. Chitalu you may be transferred from Ndola to Kitwe, you will have a house in Lusaka. Sometimes you may be transferred from Lusaka to Livingstone, you can put somebody on rent as you continue paying rentals after you finish paying, then the change of ownership will be transferred in your name. But the period that you will be paying for that house under the scheme of rent to own, it becomes your house. Even if you are not in Kitwe, you go somewhere, you put somebody who will be paying you rent. After you retire, you will have a place to call home.”