28 March 2020
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Wednesday, 21 March 2018 09:02

20,000 benefit from DAHSP

Written by  Patricia Kapulula
Vintulla: the programme is making good progress Vintulla: the programme is making good progress

Lilongwe, March 20: Despite earlier complaints by some quarters that materials used in the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme (DAHSP) commonly known as the Cement and Malata Subsidy are of substandard quality, the programme has so far benefited over 20,000 people since its inception four years ago.

Ministry of Housing, Lands and Urban Development Public Relations Officer, Charles Vintulla, told Malawi News Agency (MANA) that the programme is making good progress when funds which have been remitted to the ministry are matched with what is on the ground.

He said the programme has, to a larger extent, achieved its intended purpose of providing decent housing to low income households who have managed to build new or improve the old houses at a subsidized cost of fifty per cent.

“At the moment, the programme has managed to reach to over 20, 000 beneficiaries from which close to 15, 000 houses have been completed.

“Out of the completed houses 12, 000 decent houses have been occupied by the beneficiaries and their families,” said Vintulla.

About 8, 000 houses are still under construction or improvement at different stages.

However, Vintulla said the figures continue to change every day as some beneficiaries are completing their housing projects once they receive final materials in their respective local councils.

Despite registering the success story, DAHSP has experienced challenges which could have put the programme in a difficult situation if measures to address the challenges weren’t put in place.

“From the onset, DAHSP has been a learning experience as challenges faced in the initial stages have been taken as lessons into the subsequent phases that have improved the programme over time,” he said.

According to Vintulla, the major challenge that the ministry faces with the programme implementation is abuse by some suppliers who deliver substandard materials without inspection or verification of local authorities.

This has led to some beneficiaries and stakeholders to complain.

Some district commissioners who refused to be named complained to one of the local papers about the materials being used in the programme that they are of substandard quality which they felt was compromising the project.

According to an independent investigation conducted by Malawi News revealed that in most districts where the programme is being implemented, materials such as cement, poles and other requirements being procured are of substandard quality.

To address this, the ministry has implored the local councils to ensure that their officials or DAHSP desk officers cross-check all materials before suppliers proceed to deliver them at constituency delivery points.

In addition, the ministry takes action by reporting such suppliers to the Office of the Directorate of Public Procurement (ODPP).

“Any substandard materials should not be accepted and should immediately be sent back and reported to the ministry,” said Vintulla.

District Commissioners for Likoma and Nkhata Bay rejected materials because they were substandard and the suppliers were not paid.

Inadequate and timely funding is also another challenge affecting the implementation of the programme making it tricky for DAHSP to fulfill all its planned activities and beat time limits.

Out of the K29.4 billion, the project has accessed K15.128 billion, representing 51.7 per cent of the total programme budget.

President Prof Peter Mutharika launched the programme on 18th December, 2014 after it was approved by Cabinet and Parliament in August and September, 2014 respectively.

The programme is meant to address poor housing situation for the low income and vulnerable households. It is implemented in both rural and urban areas in all the 193 constituencies.

The implementation process is guided by two major documents namely the Project Concept and Operational Manual which clearly spell out the beneficiaries, selection criteria, programme component and key stakeholders involved in the programme implementation and the coordination mechanisms among other things.