Government hunts Malata Subsidy defaulters
14 billion down the drain
Ministry of Lands has disclosed that it has begun a forensic audit of the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme (DAHSP) to track down defaulters as only K110 million out of the K14 billion spent was recovered.
DAHSP, popularly known as Malata and Cement Subsidy Programme, is a Democratic Progressive Party signature programme designed to build 66,000 units for the poor—70 houses in each of the country’s 193 constituencies—on a 50 percent subsidy every year.
Five thousand of the units were supposed to be grants to the ultra-poor. The total cost of the project, which was planned to run for five years—from 2014 to 2019— was K39 billion.
Lands Minister Kezzie Msukwa told The Daily Times that the Tonse Alliance-led administration would not have sustained the project.
He, however, said government would come up with another plan which, he said, would not have any political influence.
“The problem with the Malata and Cement Programme is that it was so politicised that only politicians were being awarded contracts and those people delivered substandard materials to councils,” Msukwa said.
The Tonse administration plans to construct five houses per constituency in all the 193 constituencies per year from 2021/22 to 2026/27 fiscal years, according to Msukwa.
He said out of the five houses, four will target regular vulnerable households while one house will be reserved for a person with albinism.
Parliament has been approving funds for the programme for years but most district councils struggled to implement the project as expected.
Meanwhile, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace National Coordinator Boniface Chibwana has said the National Social Protection Policy should be clear on how initiatives such as DAHSP should be run.
“It is clear that the initiative was largely politicised and principles of accountability and transparency were compromised,” he said.