Substandard materials hit Malata subsidy programme
District councils are complaining that materials being used in the K9 Billion Decent and Affordable Housing Programme (DAHSP), widely referred to as Malata subsidy, are of substandard quality.
The councils have since demanded decentralisation of the programme so that procurement of the materials should be done within the districts.
Some District Commissioners (DCs) who opted for anonymity have told Malawi News that the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has been procuring substandard materials, which they feel is compromising the project.
“At one point we received substandard materials, we had no choice but to turn them back,” one of the DCs said.
An independent investigation by Malawi News has revealed that in most districts where the programme is being implemented, materials such as cement, poles and other requirements being procured are substandard.
There are strong allegations that some senior officials in the Ministry of Lands are pocketing money meant for the programme.
“During a review of the project, it was agreed that it should be decentralized to prevent procurement anomalies. However, up to now, the implementing ministry has not yet adhered to the recommendation hence the continuation of procurement of substandard materials,” the source said.
Parliamentary Committee on Social Welfare Chairperson, Richard Chimwendo, expressed concern over the irregularities in the implementation of the Malata subsidy project, which is funded by taxpayers.
“We want investigations to be done immediately regarding the alleged anomalies in the construction of houses for the poor in all the districts,” Chimwendo said.
Since the introduction of the project, main opposition Malawi congress party (MCP), Peoples Party, Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn), Economic Association of Malawi (Ecama) and other commentators have questioned the relevance of DAHSP, arguing it is costly and does not make economic sense.
Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Lands Charles Vintulla has dismissed the claims by District Commissioners.
“The Ministry cannot just wake up today and change how the programme is being implemented. Cabinet made a decision and the matter was taken to Parliament. If there is a decision, in terms of change of implementation, it has to go through the same channels,” Vintulla said.
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