Banda kicks off $98m Society House works
By Times Reporter
President Rupiah Banda has commissioned the US$98
million Society House re-development and Central Arcade development project in
Lusaka and expressed confidence that it will silence critics as it will change
the face of the capital city.
Mr Banda said in Lusaka
yesterday the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and Zambia National
Building Society (ZNBS) deal had made him proud because it would herald a
comprehensive facelift to the central business district through the five-star
office block and a car-park that would accommodate 1,068 motor
He said the redeveloped Society House building would
stand tall and imposing in the city and would help silence those who had opposed
Society House was gutted by an inferno in 1997.
project, to be undertaken by Zambezi Consortium, seeks to turn the Central
Arcade into an ultra-modern structure that would have Zambia’s first automated
car park to decongest town centre.
The whole project will run from Cairo
Road to Cha Cha Cha Road with a chain of luxurious offices.
Mr Banda said
improved finances for ZNBS entailed efficiency in delivering houses to the
people because the institution had the mandate to empower Zambians without
housing and hailed efforts that aimed at improving the quality of the capital
He urged all Zambians to support the project that was being
undertaken under the concept of public-private partnership and especially that
failure since 1997 to renovate the building had raised concerns even in the
National Assembly and the residents of Lusaka.
“The face of Lusaka is
surely changing for the better, and my dream is that this change does not stop
within the boundaries of Lusaka but spills over to other towns and
“Let us give our people a chance to enjoy first-class
infrastructure with safe and high-quality parking facilities,” he
President Banda said a financially solid parastatal would ensure
increased and unbroken delivery of pension and social services to the retirees
around the country.
He said change was always associated by resistance
but urged managements of the two institutions to remain steadfast and focused on
The president, who was flanked by Vice-President George
Kunda, said ZNBS should work towards increasing house ownership as Zambia heads
towards the Vision 2030 that seeks to turn the country into a middle income
country which target he said was likely to be attained before that
He urged ZNBS to reach out to more people in the country in the
provision of cost-effective houses through mortgages which could be given for
medium and long-term periods.
All stakeholders should ensure that all the
parameters for the project were met by sharpening operations.
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 revenue for the two organisations.
The end benefit will accrue to
the people of Zambia,” the president said.
Labour Minister Austin Liato
dismissed as lies recent stories by the Post Newspaper that the project was
laced with corruption and wondered how the two parastatal institutions could
have received instructions to run the project when the process started around
He said the Post lied about a Kenyan investor being engaged because
the consortium running the project was formed between a South African firm and
several Zambian construction and consulting companies that formed Zambezi
Consortium, which won the bid.
ZNBS board chairperson Joyce
Nonde-Simukoko said 800 jobs would be created during the construction stage
while 1,000 others would be created after the completion of the
She said many Zambians would benefit from the mammoth project
through the value-chain and the transformation of the central business
NAPSA board chairperson Dominic Mbangu said the institution had
formed a separate company called Re-development of Building Society Limited that
would manage the process of construction with NAPSA being the
Mr Mbangu said after construction, NAPSA would have a
management team represented at ZNBS for about 20 years to facilitate the
recovery of the money paid for the project.
ZNBS managing director
Noriana Muneku said her institution had the mandate to ensure public property
was managed in a way that met people’s expectations.