Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has blamed some local councils for delaying the procurement of wooden materials intended for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) flagship initiative, the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme (DAHSP).
But Minister of Local Government Kondwani Nankhumwa has clarified that councils are mere conduits of the programme.
In an apparent reaction to a Malawi News story at the week end that unravelled glaring shortcomings in the programme including delayed or partial delivery of materials Ministry Spokesperson Charles Vintulla faulted councils for delayed procurement of materials like door frames, doors as well as glasses for the project.
“Records we have show that some councils already got money for the wooden materials but the beneficiaries are yet to get then. This is also delaying the programme,” Vintula said.
However, Nankhumwa clarified that councils are only a medium of the project since they are the only structure on the ground.
“The materials are left with the councils for the administration of the programme but local government is just a stakeholder. Even the funding of the programme is with the Lands, Housing and Urban Development ministry,” Nankhumwa said.
Meanwhile, Vintulla has disclosed that DAHSP beneficiaries who used their own resources to build houses which government pledged to fully fund will be reimbursed after loan reconciliation basing on the materials used.
Vintulla said Housing Development Groups (HDGs) have been charged with the responsibility to reconcile what the beneficiaries have used so that it is deducted from their loans.
“We cannot charge someone for something they have not used,” he said, “The HDGs are the ones supposed to ensure they account for what the beneficiaries have used from personal coffers and that the groups will have to reconcile the figures to come up with the actual loan to be repaid.”
Vintula admitted that the 1,800 beneficiaries targeted in the programme were just too many to be reached with building materials at one goal.
“The fact is that the figure is quite huge and it is not possible for each beneficiary to get all the required materials at once. Those who have used their own money due to race against the rainy season should be rest assured to get lesser loans in line with what they got,” explained Vintula.
He added that materials for the beneficiaries who have used personal resources which government already procured and are in various warehouses at district council level will be allocated to other beneficiaries.
“There is likely to be duplication of materials since some of the beneficiaries are buying on their own but we are so sure that the HDGs will allocate the remaining materials from government to others who feel like getting the loan,” said Vintulla.
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