Opposition members of Parliament (MPs) have called on government to re-strategise the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme (Dahsp) if more people are to benefit.
Despite most of the MPs saying that the programme, widely known as Malata and Cement subsidy, is good, many observed that its administration needed to be re-looked and come up with a better strategy of decentralising the procurement process which is currently done at central level.
According to the legislators, the centralisation of the procurement system has contributed to a lot of challenges in distribution of materials.
Making his contribution to the joint report on the programme by Parliamentary committees on Government Assurances and Public Service Reforms, and Transport and Public Works, Dowa East MP Richard Chimwendo Banda (MCP) suggested decentralizing to avoid mismatch and mis-procurements.
“So much as many people want the programme, some loopholes needs to be filled, for example the procurement process which is done here in Lilongwe for various districts needs to be relooked and let the districts handle this, because it happens that they buy wrong things for wrong districts,” he said.
Balaka Central East MP Aufi Mpaweni (United Democratic Front-UDF))concurred with Banda saying the procurement system needs to be improved as the materials reach the beneficiaries late.
However, Mzimba North MP Agness Nyalonje (People’s Party-PP) said the programme is unfortunate and she felt that could have been stopped and use the money for other things.
She said the whole procurement and identification of beneficiaries leaves a lot to be desired.
“Dahsp is an unfortunate programme that could not have been in the first place, this programme is wrong, the money could have been used for other equally important things,” said Nyalonje.
Dahsp was launched by President Peter Mutharika in Lilongwe in December 2014 to build decent, affordable, durable and safe houses for low income and vulnerable groups while boosting local economies through job creation.
Beneficiaries receive a maximum of 30 Iron sheets of 30 gauge, a maximum of 30 fifty kilogramme bags of cement and other related building materials. Government provides a 50percent subsidy while beneficiaries required to repay the other 50 percent as loan.
Repayment of the loan is on a monthly basis for five years with the first two months as grace period for construction.