Oliver Kazunga, Acting Business Editor
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has collected more than $7 million in revenue from building plans that were approved between November and December last year as various construction projects are in the pipeline.
According to latest council minutes, BCC indicated that during the period under review, it approved 459 building plans.
“In December, a total of 237 building plans with a value of $3.3 million were approved as compared to 222 building plans with a value of $4 million approved in November 2017.
“This constituted an increase of 6.32 percent,” it said.
The building plans submitted and approved were for residential, industrial, commercial and public infrastructure.
The council said there were 274 building plans submitted in December 2017 with a value of $4.9 million as compared to 366 building plans with a value of $6.2 million submitted in November last year reflecting a decrease of 25.1 percent.
“There was an intention to start capturing of building plans on AS 400 in January 2018 of which building control section and information technology section were working on final stages towards that end.
“The uptake of the submission of plans via e-mail remained low,” said BCC, adding that an alternative online plan processing system likely to be the first of its kind in the country was currently being finalised.
A total of 1 142 building inspections were carried out in December compared to 1 214 building inspections done in November.
BCC said critical staff levels and transport problems remained the major challenges within its building inspection section.
In June last year, the local authority announced that it had availed more than 5 000 housing stands in the city as it was pushing towards addressing the ever ballooning housing backlog.
BCC also further regularised 8 053 stands at Cowdray Park Hlalani Kuhle to ease the accommodation burden being faced by residents.
Bulawayo’s housing backlog was pegged at 115 000 and the city has put in place a number of projects to reduce the housing waiting list.
Meanwhile, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya announced in his 2018 monetary policy statement that the new housing units funded through mortgage financing by the banking sector countrywide were this year expected to improve by 103.7 percent to 11 611.
In 2017, the banking sector advanced $172.08 million under a mortgage finance scheme for the construction of 5 700 houses across the country.
It is envisaged that the banks will this year advance $365.63 million under the mortgage scheme.