Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi says government will amend the archaic Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) Act to ensure that the parastatal effectively discharges its mandate of providing affordable houses.
In an interview after a meeting with Tenants Association of Malawi (TAM) at Comesa Hall in Blantyre yesterday, Muluzi said amending the Act is part of the reform process being spearheaded by Vice-President Saulos Chilima under the Public Service Reforms Commission (PSRC).
“We have engaged in the reform process of land governance and housing to address the many challenges that Malawi Housing Corporation has been facing over the years through the amended MHC Act,” said Muluzi.
He said the amendment of the Act will help improve the provision of houses to low- and middle-income Malawians and enhance transparency at MHC.
Muluzi said the Comesa meeting was organised following a request from TAM that they needed his intervention on some issues relating to home ownership and maintenance of houses.
According to records, MHC has 6 000 houses nationwide, but the parastatal has about 140 000 applicants on the waiting list.
Muluzi said this year, MHC plans to construct 2 500 houses in the country’s three regions.
MHC chief executive officer Wezi Mkandawire said they have been facing cash flow challenges since they stopped receiving government subvention in 1994.
“This makes it impossible for us to rehabilitate houses most of the times. What we have been doing is rehabilitative maintenance and responsive maintenance,” she said.
Mkandawire said because of the outdated MHC Act, they have been unable to compete with the private sector in terms of pricing their houses.
“Our Act is outdated in that it was enacted in 1964. One of the reforms approved by government is to amend the Act,” she said.
TAM chairperson Mervin Kaumphawi said most of the houses are dilapidated and need urgent attention.
“Some of the houses are inhabitable, but we have no choice because we cannot afford houses by private owners,” he said in interview. n