CASH-RICH Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is planning to build a multi-billion dollar housing estate in Beitbridge for its staffers in the border town with South Africa.<
Zimra spokesperson Priscilla Sadomba confirmed the development, but would not divulge the cost of the cluster development, which sources said could be in excess of $5 billion.
Sadomba was also not forthcoming on the proposed number of units to be built on the estate.
“The Zimra Village is still at the planning stage,” she said.
Warding off claims that the housing development was meant for top managers in the southern border post, Sadomba said Zimra had not “firmed up” on the number of housing units and the construction costs, meaning that they are yet to go to tender and hire a contractor.
“The houses are not for top management, but for staff in the Beitbridge area. In any case, top management are based in Harare,” she said.
Zimra, a state-run revenue collection entity created out of the merger of the former customs and excise department, and taxes, forms part of the dwindling band of public sector institutions to consider its employees’ shelter needs and plight.
While some have attempted to address the predicament, notably the police force, by launching ambitious housing projects, they have failed to fully fix the problem owing to shortage of funds.
Public sector-driven housing initiatives have been generally slow and ridden with corruption thus extending Zimbabwe’s pathetic and crushing accommodation shortages.
Hundreds of thousands of people remain on government housing lists, as the heralded accommodation targets unveiled by the executive amid fanfare in the previous millenium diminish.
But armed with a good cash turnout and 2003 half-year revenue aggregate of $332,4 billion – thanks to more robust revenue collection measures – the Gershem Pasi-led Zimra hopes to do better than most of its peers.
As well as Zimra, Interfresh is one of the latest few corporate citizens to provide accommodation for its workers.
The horticultural concern recently unveiled a $600 million housing development at Mazoe Citrus Estates, just outside Harare.
There are 423 units, set to provide accommodation for an extra 550 people on the northern Zimbabwe farm.
The development comprises 308 one-roomed units and larger 115 three-roomed units.