THE National Building Society says low cost of finance will be critical in the bank’s strategy to deliver key milestones enunciated in Government’s medium term economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.
Acting chairman Nimrod Chiminya said the NBS board continues to advocate delivery of new housing stock that will contribute towards achievement of targets in the Zim-Asset, 2014/18.
Mr Chiminya was speaking during the official opening of the bank’s new Chinhoyi branch last week. This brings to three its total number of branches since the bank was opened about 11 months ago. The other two are located in Harare and Bulawayo.
“The bank’s strategy in the next five years seeks certainly to bring closer the achievement of key economic milestones enunciated in Zim-Asset and to ensure broad-based empowerment of the majority of Zimbabweans,” Mr Chiminya said.
“The issue of cost of money is critical in ensuring widespread inclusion and so our proposition to deliver affordable housing targeted at the low income earner is something that the nation welcomes.”
Mr Chiminya said it was a positive development that NBS, which is wholly-owned by the National Social Security Authority, is one of the home-grown solutions to the housing shortage.
“We also encourage the development of products and services that encourage cashless transactions including the recently launched NBS transactor and agency banking services, which we expect to come on board in a few days, as these are in line with the global norms,” the building society’s acting chairman added.
The launch of Chinhoyi branch will be key for NBS as it seeks to undertake two developments in Chinhoyi and Harare where 1 600 new units will be delivered.
This is in line with the objective of reducing the housing backlog as espoused in Government’s medium term plan, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation 2014 to 2018. NBS said its aim is to contribute 100 000 new housing units over the 5-year period to 2021. This will go some way in reducing the national housing backlog, which currently stands at 1,25 million units.
NBS managing director Ken Chitando earlier said the society had initiated engagements with partners in the housing value chain (land developers, contractors, building materials suppliers and construction professionals) to form collaborations that will result in delivery of affordable housing units.
In an endeavour to enhance the client service experience, NBS said it would open three additional branches during the course of 2017 in Gweru, Masvingo as well as Mutare.
In the 7 months of operation to December 2016, NBS mobilised deposits of $19,4 million and disbursed $25 million in loans, indicating its huge potential.
As anticipated in the business plan, NBS recorded a loss of $3 million in 2016 after accounting for initial set up costs.
The board and management said they were generally pleased with the growth of the society within such a short period and are encouraged of the outlook despite challenges of a difficult environment.