Beneficiaries of the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme in Karonga have said they will struggle to repay loans due to looming hunger and economic hardships.
The ‘Malata and Cement Subsidy’ provided building materials to 75 poor households in each constituency.
Each household got a loan of up to K450 000 and it is required to repay half of it and a 10 percent interest for five years.
But Kayuni Housing Development Committee chairperson Joana Nyirenda said farming families may not repay the loans accordingly as pro-longed dry spells and fall armyworm attacks have reduced their yield.
“This will affect the repayment of the loan because we depend on farming for livelihood and income,” she said.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development estimates that almost 1.9 million families face the likelihood of hunger due to the climate shock and pest attack.
TiyowoyechiNgwira said she has not repaid her loan since 2016.
“I expected to start repaying after harvest, but it will be difficult because my crops have been scorched by droughts,” she said.
Karonga senior building supervisor Raphael Ngirwa said the district council is sensitising housing committees to ways of reducing the number of defaulters.
Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development spokesperson Charles Vintula urged the beneficiaries to find alternatives sources of income, including small-scale businesses.
“If some of them are experiencing tough economic times this year, there is still time for them to pay back,” he said.