By Wezzie Gausi
The Ministry of Lands and Urban Development has admitted that it has failed to construct 1,000 houses for security agencies in the first phase and attributed the challenge to lack of funds.
The government launched the K20 billion project in 2020,when it said it would construct 10,000 houses for Malawi Defence Force (MDF), Malawi Police Service (MPS), Immigration Department and Malawi Prison Service operatives in five years.
When he appeared before the Transport and Public Infrastructure Committee of Parliament Wednesday, Secretary for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Reyneck Matemba said the ministry planned to construct 1,000 houses in the first phase but only managed to construct 231 houses in that phase.
“We have not done better in the first phase. The biggest challenge is financing. You know that we, as a ministry, make budgets but it is the Treasury that determines how much to give us every financial year.
“In the second phase, we are slated to construct 4,300 houses, all things being equal. And about K3 billion has been budgeted for that but we, as a ministry, are not sure whether the said amount will be given as a whole or if there will be some changes,” Matemba said.
Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Public Infrastructure Chairperson Uchizi Mkandawire said, at the pace the ministry was constructing the houses, it would not be able to construct 10,000 of them in five years.
He said the ministry had managed to construct only 231 houses in two years.
“We, as a committee, are worried about how the project is going. Of course, the ministry has assured us that they will finalise all the houses in the remaining years but we don’t see that happening.
“Let the Treasury help the ministry with the much needed resources for the project to come into reality. The issue of security houses has been a song for so long and we need to see this project coming to pass,” Mkandawire said.
In the first phase, the ministry was to build 400 houses for MDF, 400 houses for MPS, 100 houses for immigration and 100 houses for the prison department.