By Duncan Mlanjira
Housing Investment and Development Cooperative (HIDCO) is running another promotion but this time it is offering loans to its members to buy plots to build their houses.
HIDCO has acquired land behind Chitedze Research Station in Lilongwe and is selling to its fully-paid up members plots of 40 by 30 at only K1.8 million.
Through the promotion, ‘Kugula Ma Plot Mofewa”, a member that applies for loan to buy a plot or plots and will pay back within 6 months will do so without paying any interest.
“Interest rate will be 0% when they apply to pay back the loan in 6 months or less,” said HIDCO’s chairperson Robert Mbeza.
“For members that will apply the loan to pay back in 7 to 12 months, they will pay a reduced interest rate of 12% per annum or 1% per month.”
The members that selected plots in 2019 or are selecting now are at liberty to start buying the plots from January to any month they want, with some willing to start paying after August 2020.
The promotion, therefore has been introduced to entice members to start buying the plots within this first quarter of 2020.
Mbeza said the promotion is to encourage members to start paying for the Plot Loans between January and March 2020 in order to finish paying back their loans before or in December 2020, January or February 2021.
The deadline for application for loans through this promotion is 15 March 2020 so that they can start repaying from end of January if they applied now or February and March.
Those that will start repaying their loans in April 2020 will not qualify to get this reduced interest rate.
“The late comers shall pay our normal rate of 20% per annum,” Mbeza said. “HIDCO is urging its members to apply and start paying back their Plot Loans now — January or February or March — to qualify to get this promotional rate of 1% per month (12% per annum).
“New fully paid up members will also qualify if they applied within the promotion period.”
One condition remain — a member can only qualify to get a Loan from HIDCO when they are a full member with a minimum of 10 shares.
Membership fees are K367,500 and “These are for administration and are not refundable,” Mbeza said. “Thereafter, one can start buying shares.
“One share is K73,500 and for one to be a full member, they must have 10 shares amounting to K735,000.
“Members are encouraged to continue saving in Voluntary Shares up to any amount. When you are a full member, you can apply for a loan of up to one and a half times your shares payable up to 12 months with interest of 20% per annum.
“However, the Loans for Plots that HIDCO is selling, a member can get up to three times their shares.”
HIDCO, that was registered in May 2018 but was actively operational last year, also ran a promotion enticing members to join and its draw was conducted in November 2019.
The promotion, named ‘Ndalowa Nawo’, started as soon as HIDCO became actively operational early this year (2019).
HIDCO’s mission is to empower people the interest to acquire real estate investment.
The cooperative which was formed by Malawians living in Malawi and around the world has hit the ground running in just a year since it got registered.
It currently has a total assets portfolio of over K42 million.
The idea of HIDCO came about from a discussion group called Malawi Builders Network comprising Malawians living around the world notably in the US, UK, Canada, Alaska, Australia, South Africa, other European countries, several southern African countries and in Malawi.
The group has physical planners, surveyors, property developers, architects, engineers, transporters, real estate agents, finance experts among others.
The network created a WhatsApp Forum to discuss and share ideas on businesses and how to develop and support each other in their various enterprises and business ventures.
It was through the WhatsApp group that a discussion in the area of housing investment brought the idea of establishing a housing cooperative.
Through the expertise within the group about cooperatives development, members came to know how cooperatives are formed, their benefits, challenges and the impact that they have on the personal development of its members and the community at large.
So Malawi Builders Network (MBN) agreed to establish and register a housing cooperative which was registered on 31 May 2018.
MBN was initiated by John Pangani, who is an entrepreneur in real estate, tourism transporter and radio DJ for University of Notre Dame Radio (2hrs Reggae Show) living in South Bend, Indiana, USA.
Robert Mbeza was instrumental in the establishment of the housing cooperative having vast experience with financial cooperatives since 1983.
Mbeza said HIDCO is targeting every Malawian living around the world — everyone who is interested in housing and investment can join as a member.
Access roads on the land named Hidcoville behind Chitedze Research Station has already being built.
This is HIDCO’s first site but the intention is to get to everywhere within Malawi where the members want to build their houses like Blantyre, Zomba, Mangochi, Kasungu, Mzuzu, Karonga, Mzimba and anywhere.