Minister of Lands Housing and Urban development Atupele Muluzi on Wednesday told parliament that a subsidy that allows poor families build a dry, clean home is an efficient investment to the rural population.
Lands minister’s statement comes at a time when opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) members have been calling for the suspension of the program.
But in a ministerial statement , Muluzi stated that he was reporting progress as well as explaining what the program seeks to do.
This, the Minister explained, has come about due to lack of understanding by some sectors of what the program intends to achieve.
He gave a comprehensive outline of its achievements to date by providing data on where houses are being constructed.
So far 6,948 houses representing 45% of the houses to be constructed have been improved and are at different levels of construction. The data was provided per region.
Data includes 35,000 carpenters, bricklayers, guards and casual labourers have been recruited as one way of dealing with rampant unemployment.
There are 30 suppliers of various building materials such as cement, corrugated iron sheets, nails, paint, timber and other materials, according to the minister.
Muluzi informed the house that data on lists of beneficiaries and related information is accessible in the Ministry.
He was also acknowledged some of the challenges that the program had encountered in its first year of implementation and was quick to mention that lessons were learnt and gave concrete steps on how these would be addressed to ensure that the program delivers better.
The minister also asked for honest and robust feedback from ordinary Malawians on how the ministry is delivering the programme.
The highlight was when the Ministers introduced two beneficiaries and their families to parliament from M’bwatalika, TA Malili in Lilongwe.
This Muluzi said was a deliberate demonstration to Parliament on how the Malata and Cement program could assist in providing more sanitary living conditions helping to prevent pneumonia, diarrhoea diseases and Malaria in rural areas.
He further emphasised that a dry, clean environment is key to preventing these diseases. Its impact on education and economic activity were also highlighted.
“If there are still members of this august house who believe that a solid floor and a solid roof are a bad use of public funds, that the money could be better spent elsewhere, I wish them luck to explaining this to Malawians whose comfort and dignity, and yes chances of enjoying good health and educational success have been greatly enhanced by this modest investment”, said Muluzi to deaf silence in parliament.
However speaking after the statement opposition MCP legislature, Jessie Kabwila advised government to be transparent on issues of procurement of materials saying that aspect should not be dominated by pro governing DPP business.
President Arthur Peter Mutharika officially launched the Malata and Cement subsidy program on 18th December 2014 at village headman Msampha 1, traditional authority Chadza in Lilongwe district.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :