The Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has advised the government to formulate a practical investment plan to solve housing challenges facing the citizenry especially in urban areas whose population continues to boom.
There is high demand for housing units for people in urban areas especially the middle working and business class population, a development that keeps pushing rentals up.
The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development recently said the country needs to be constructing 20 000 houses annually to deal with the inadequate housing specifically in urban areas.
In a written response, Cama executive director John Kapito said housing challenges affecting Malawians have reached unprecedented levels.
He said the shortage of housing in urban areas remains a key setback to high cost of living as people’s incomes are depleted by high rentals, mostly caused by high demand for housing.
Kapito said: “Development and implementation of a good housing policy has been mere campaign talk and there is lack of seriousness by government to ensure that people have good and affordable housing in urban and rural areas.
“Time has come to put in place an independent housing commission to address the challenges we are facing and remove the high levels of beuracracy in the housing Ministry”.
He described the Ministry of Lands as the weakest link, saying the people in the ministry need a lot of capacity building to understand and appreciate how a housing policy is developed and implemented.
Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Kezzie Msukwa recently revealed that the ministry is engaging private investors to construct decent commercial affordable houses to solve housing challenges facing the citizenry.
Msukwa admitted that decent and affordable commercial housing remains a serious challenge that needs immediate solution.
The Minister stated that on average, nationally the country ought to be constructing 20 000 houses annually to meet housing demand.
Msukwa said: “We may involve private investors in partnership with the government to construct the houses. This is something that we are working on in our office and once it goes through cabinet, we will announce what we want to do”.
MHC chief executive officer Eunice Napolo said the institution itself and in partnership with other investors is constructing houses.
She mentioned the Area 49 Guoji Dream Housing project which partnered MHC by providing land for commercial housing where it gets a share of the proceeds once the houses are rented out or sold to clients.
She explained that proceeds from such joint venture and revenue from housing rentals in all MHC properties are then re-invested into other project areas.