President Lazarus Chakwera says corruption in the construction industry is affecting the country’s development as it results in substandard infrastructure.
Speaking at Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi yesterday when he graced the opening of the 38th Malawi Institute of Architects (MIA) Annual General Meeting (AGM), the President said it is worrisome that some people in the country are still involved in corrupt practices and the construction industry is not spared.
He said: “We salute our architects for the exceptional work they do in the country. With the passage of time, we have seen Malawi’s infrastructural development being transformed. This is good and it proves their worth.
“However, let me express my disappointment with the continued corruption by some officers as this works counter to my administration.”
Chakwera stressed his administration’s commitment to end corruption and to support the architects, saying he wants to move Malawi to a country of high standard.
Said the President: “In most of the infrastructural development done in the past three decades, Malawi Institute of Architects has been missing in action. For decades, many organisations and institutions have been bypassing the expertise of MIA in favour of cheap substitutes which results in substandard work. Therefore, my government will promote good architectural designs that will follow the law.
“By accepting to be your patron, I am committing my administration to involve this institute in the design and development of our signature infrastructure projects such as the Judiciary Complex to be built across the Parliament Building [in Lilongwe] and a 20-storey twin towers to house a new and fit-for-purpose Office of the President and Cabinet at Capital Hill.”
He further called on government ministries, departments and agencies to ensure that they hire professional architects for projects.
Chakwera also urged the architects to desist from corruption in the course of their duties.
In his remarks, MIA president, Architect Tione Mughogho, said the institute’s members are commited to being agents of development in the country.
He expressed concern that some donor-funded projects bring foreign architectural services that could competently be handled by local professionals, saying it is in conflict with the country’s development aspirations as espoused in the Malawi 2063 Vision.
Mughogho, however, said due to insufficient funds, they are failing to train more architects to meet the desired standards and demands, adding that unqualified architects are contributing to unethical practice which costs the country.
He said: “The country is suffering multiple losses in terms of degenerating quality of architecture in our cities; reduced revenue collection by MRA [Malawi Revenue Authority] and NCIC [National Construction Industry Council] in form of levies, among others.”
During the AGM, which is being held under the theme The Pandemic and Architecture: A Case of Resilience, Chakwera was installed as MIA patron.