FIDELITY Printers and Refiners is paying out $15 million to the estimated 300 000 artisanal gold miners on a weekly basis, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.
Speaking at the POSB Mortgage Finance division launch yesterday, Minister Chinamasa said artisanal miners were an example of the structural changes occurring in the economy where SMEs were taking over production in various industries.
In light of this, mortgage lenders should take advantage of structural changes by crafting affordable products that cater for such markets to grow the industry as well as help Government provide housing solutions.
This, he said, could also be achieved by promoting a culture of long term savings, which is currently the lowest in the Sadc region. “You need to look at affordability of mortgages especially interest rates, taking account of the structural changes happening in the economy.
“For instance, there are 300 000 artisanal miners getting about $15 million from Fidelity every week, that is money in people’s pockets that you should take advantage of and provide products that cater for such markets,” he said.
This, he said, will allow the housing sector across value chains contributing significantly to the country’s gross domestic product.
POSB chief executive manager Admore Kandlela said the mortgage finance division’s main target market was the medium to low income earners, who constitute the largest part of the banking group’s market.
Already, the POSB has disbursed $1, 5 million out of the budgeted $5 million. The bank is also targeting Zimbabweans living in the diaspora. “As a bank, we have not been in this business, but we have seen an opportunity that exists in the market especially to serve the lower end market as well as civil servants.
“The biggest challenge in mortgage financing has been the affordability gap, and as POSB we want to address that by partnering all stakeholders in the housing development value chain,” said Mr Kandlela.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Deputy Minister said Government welcomed initiatives by finance institutions like POSB to help narrow the housing deficit in the country, currently estimated at 1, 2 million.
This, he said, also addressed the Zim-Asset infrastructure cluster which emphasizes on provision of decent housing for all Zimbabweans.