Controversy has rocked the t Decent and Affordable Housing (Cement and Malata Subsidy Programme) with revelations that there has been favouritism as tenders were awarded mostly to ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) functionaries.
Parliament allowed Government to spend K7 billion in the 2014/2015 financial year for the programme.
In a report by Malawi News on Saturday, June 20, 2015, on a list of 48 suppliers for Lilongwe District, four companies whose owners are linked to the ruling party include Mulli Brothers Limited and a company trading as CPA that belongs to DPP deputy publicity secretary Zeria Chakale.
DPP Regional Secretary for the Centre trading as Adona Investments is also on the list just like Makuta Building Contractor whose proprietor is President Peter Mutharika’s special advisor on women affairs Anne Makuta.
Other companies on the list include AKA Group of Companies, Brownstones, Chembe Trading, Dee Investments, Door2Door and Equatorial Kings.
The lists also includes Chacabex, Claj, Cleolive International, EDN Lines, Far Distribution, Far West, Farmers World, Felton G. Enterprises, S. Filimoni and Fox G.D.
Others are Good Investments, Havilah Traders, Hydroplan Engineering, Ireen Investments, Jayvee Investments, Kudakwashe, Lens Investment, Lileza Investment, Majaye Investment, Uni General Dealers, Moigi, WD Investments, Sealand, MSO and Ogotirwa.
These companies are expected to supply cement bags, galvanised wire, wire nails, roofing nails and iron sheets.
But Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development insisted there was no abuse of power and that tenders were floated and procedures followed in indentifying the suppliers.
Deputy Secretary for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Eunice Chipangula told Malawi News:“We followed the due process of tendering in line with the Procurement Act. Even the identification of the suppliers was done in such a way that we did not look at their politics but application. We have a detailed report on how it was done and we can share it with you if you want it.”
A ministerial statement delivered in Parliament by former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Bright Msaka, on September 19, 2014 stated that the DPP government sought the support of Parliament to promote the use of iron sheets for roofing, and cement for flooring, plastering, in house construction and house improvement throughout the country, especially for low income Malawians.
Building costs in Malawi are said to be the highest in the southern African region and it is estimated that it costs 55 percent higher to construct any building in the country compared to other countries within the region, according to a recent study by the University of Malawi.
The study, conducted in 2012, shows that the high costs of construction in Malawi are to blame for the astronomical costs of construction in the country.
A quantity surveyor at the Malawi Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, Rodrick Chipunde is on record criticising the cement subsidies.
He argued that reducing the cement price is a welcome idea but should be done through inviting more players into the cement manufacturing business, stressing that the proposed subsidy programme is not good for the country’s economy.
Chilipunde, who is the Head in the Department of Land Economics and Quantity Surveying, suggested that the DPP government is “trying to gain political mileage at the expense of economic gains.”
University of Malawi’s Chancellor College political analyst Blessings Chinsinga—who has published studies on subsidies in Malawi—is on record saying that subsidies on their own are not bad but, he explained, it is the design of the subsidised projects that is problematic.
Chancellor College political science lecturer Boniface Dulani is also on record arguing that subsidies have not helped Malawi over the past years and that it has deprived government of money that should have been used to provide essential services in sections such as health and education.
According to Dulani, other than promoting subsidies, “the best way is to create jobs so that people can earn enough to buy food, iron sheets and cement.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :