|President Rupiah Banda during the
launch of the Zambia National Building Society House re-development and Central
Arcade development yesterday
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
And labour minister Austin Liato said the allegations by The
Post that President Banda influenced the deal were misplaced.
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
"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
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
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.
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
"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
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
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
"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
"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
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
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.
event was also attended by scores of MMD cadres who were chanting party
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.
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