Companies that provide cement for the Malata and Cement subsidy programme including a Lilongwe- based Asian businessman are under investigations that they are ripping of poor and vulnerable families that are beneficiaries of the programme.
The investigations by law enforcing agencies have come after reports that the companies are working in collusion with government officials and suppliers that instead of giving beneficiaries 50kg bags of cement they are taking off 10 kgs and making separate bags.
“This has been going on with the collusion of government officials and suppliers ripping of unsuspecting poor Malawians who are supposed to be beneficiaries of the programme by giving them underweight cement bags,” said a source privy to the investigations.
This has prompted the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to call for transparency in the investigations.
“We want results of the probe to be made public and those involved in this malpractice prosecuted. The money that goes into this programe is for Malawians through taxes and duping them in this manner is inhuman,” said HRDC Vice Chairperson Gift Trapence.
The Decent and Affoardable Housing programme (DAHSP) widely reffered to as Cement and Malata subsidy programmes was launched in 2014 to provide subsidized cement, iron-sheets and other related building materials for the low income households to build and improve their own houses.
The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development is implementing the DAHSP initiative whose objective includes facilitating construction and improvement of houses for the low income households.
Under the programme, low-income households are empowered to build and own decent houses through subsidized cement, iron-sheets and other construction materials under the DAHSP concept.
President Peter Mutharika launched the programme with pomp in December 2014 and K7 billion was allocated to the programme in the 2015/16 national budget.
Another K14 billion was allocated to the programme in the 2016/2017 budget and 2017/2018 budgets while a whopping 10 billion was allocated in the 2018/2019 budget.
However, some of the challenges encountered under the programme have been corruption and delivery of substandard materials to beneficairies by suppliers.
There has also been late delivery of building materials to some beneficiaries due to delays in payment of suppliers by government with many commentators describing the programme as a conduit for fattening some fat cats and suppliers elsewhere.
The cement and malata subsidy is one of the promises the DPP made in its 2014 manifesto, to implement a policy for housing that will focus on subsidising prices of iron sheets and cement for poor people to build their own houses.
“Low-income households will manage to build and own decent houses through subsidised cement, iron-sheets and other construction materials under the DAHSP concept,” reads the manifesto.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :