It has been discovered that there are inconsistencies which are negatively affecting progress in the much-touted Descent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme (DAHSP) known as Cement and Malata Subsidy Programme.
The problems range from delays in disbursement of administrative funds, low ceiling of labour charge for construction of the houses by the artisans and delays in distribution of building materials to beneficiaries by the implementing councils.
This has been discovered during a tour where parliamentary committees on Transport and Public Works, and Governance Asurances were appreciating the housing project in Mchinji, Kasungu, Mzuzu, NkhataBay and Nkhotakota.
As of two weeks ago, 7 800 houses were completed which is over 50 percent of the targeted 14 000 for beneficiaries across the country.
Kasungu district commissioner (DC), Moses Mphepo, said inconsistency in delivery of materials has led to some beneficiaries buying some materials on their own to have their houses finished.
Said Mphepo, “In most cases, we had received a lot of iron sheets and cement and not sufficient timber planks, this led to some beneficiaries who can afford to buy their own timber and for their houses to be completed.”
On his part, Mchinji DC, Richard Hara, said the project has put K50 000 as maximum labour charge for technicians on every house and this makes it difficult for other technicians to work on these houses.”
Said Hara: “This is not working well for good workmanship on the houses because very good technicians shun the work especially considering that the paying of the money does not happen soon after the work is done.”
In spite of the challenges the parliamentarians have said they are impressed with the project.
Governance Asurances Committee chairperson Harry Mkandawire said they will, however, report everything they have seen to Parliament so that it helps refine things to improve project implementation.
Director of administration, responsible for housing in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Veronica Chidothe, acknowledged the problems, but said when funding from Treasury is delayed, her office also delays in remitting the same to the councils which deliver to beneficiaries.
She said the programme has made tremendous strides since it was launched because even for this financial year, out of the K7 billion ($9 174.31) funding which was earmarked to go to the programme, only K3.5 billion ($4 587.16) has been accessed.