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 2011-05-27 04:32 pm Back to NEWS
Rupiah justifies $98m NAPSA deal
President Rupiah Banda during the launch of the Zambia National Building Society House re-development and Central Arcade development yesterday 26.05.2011

President Rupiah Banda has justified the US$98 million NAPSA deal, saying he was happy that the pension authority has not been detracted by the best newspaper The Post.

And labour minister Austin Liato said the allegations by The Post that President Banda influenced the deal were misplaced.

During the launch of the Zambia National Building Society House re-development and Central Arcade development yesterday, President Banda said despite a lot of talk surrounding the project he was glad NAPSA and Zambian National Building society had remained focused.

"I know that a lot has been said especially by our best newspaper The Post that there's something fishy about this. It's only human that when you are trying to change something, when you're trying to transform something or yourself, you will always meet with opposition and so I am happy that the board of directors of the NAPSA as well as Zambia National Building Society (ZNBS) have remained focused in their desire to change this business district as well as to transform this area into a modern city," President Banda said.

He said he liked the project because it could be seen even from afar where the opposition was.

President Banda urged people not to listen to those who told them that his government could not attain development.

And President Banda said the project heralds the urban and the central business district renewal programme and believed that it would at its completion become an example that other cities could emulate.

"The project is viable in technical, social and economic terms. It will create employment both at construction stage and user stage, serving as a perpetual earner of revenues for the two organisations (NAPSA and ZNBS). The end benefit will accrue to the people of Zambia," he said.

He said the ZNBS and NAPSA had a mandate to empower Zambians to own housing through well-priced housing finance and ensure social security funds were invested prudently for retired populations.

"The rewards of this investment can only reinforce the mandates of these institutions and enable them to better serve their esteemed clientele," President Banda said. "This project is in line with my government's policy on public-private partnerships, marking my government's participation in the development and expansion of infrastructure in the capital city."

President Banda said the dilapidated state of properties such as Central Arcade had raised questions among the public and in Parliament pertaining to any plans to revamp the social, economic and viability of the properties.

He said the vision behind the project was to turn Central Arcade into an ultra-modern structure that would have Zambia's first automated car park with a capacity of 1,068 vehicles.

President Banda said he was certain the face of Lusaka was changing for the better and dreamt that change would spill over to other towns and cities.

He also urged NAPSA and ZNBS to explore ways of obtaining reasonably-priced financing for mortgages which could be given for medium and long-term periods at affordable interest rates.

"Home ownership must be encouraged, and on that note, I want to see the building society reinvigorating its core business and be seen to reach out to greater numbers of our people," he said.

President Banda said the project had its specifications and time line and called on the project implementers to ensure that all standards and expectations were met if its value was to be realised.

He called on Zambians to support the project:

"It has been planned for and it will add to the fulfilment of the vision 2030 deal, in which Zambia will be by that year a middle-income country."

And Liato said the allegations by The Post that President Banda influenced the deal were misplaced.

"The allegations coming from the private media, from The Post, that there was a Kenyan investor brought in are misplaced. The allegations that President Banda was involved in the deal are again misplaced and politically motivated. But this kind of politics will not do," Liato said as President Banda, flanked by Vice-President George Kunda, nodded his head.

Liato said as a politician, he felt he needed to clarify the matter.
Later, the master of ceremonies at the function, Augustine Seyuba, raised some people who were said to be officials from both local and international firms of the various partners involved in the project.

The event was also attended by scores of MMD cadres who were chanting party slogans.

The ZNBS-NAPSA deal has raised questions from several members of the public over the manner the transaction was handled. Sources disclosed that State House has been instrumental in ensuring the deal goes through.

This is the second major deal that has been linked to State House involving NAPSA, with the earlier one having involved the purchase of land from Meanwood.

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