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Muluzi Defends Housing Subsidy

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A house under construction under the Malata Subsidy Programme A house under construction under the Malata Subsidy Programme

Lilongwe: Government has dismissed allegations by critics that it has misused funds for the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme.

Some quarters of society, including the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), have asked the government to suspend the programme, saying it has failed to manage the K5.8 billion kwacha allocated for the first phase.

But according to Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi such allegations are just meant to tarnish the image of the government.

Muluzi said the government will continue with the programme, saying it is benefiting the intended rural poor.

Popularly known as Malata and Cement Subsidy Programme, the initiative is a brainchild of President Peter Mutharika aimed at providing decent and affordable housing to the underprivileged.

Critics say the programme is not making meaningful impact on the lives of the targeted poor Malawians, saying it is just draining the tax payers’ money.

PAC recently urged the government to completely abandon the programme in the wake of the prevailing socioeconomic challenges. The multi-religious grouping says government should channel the resources to other projects such as funding for maize procurement.

But Muluzi insists the programme has greatly transformed the lives of most poor Malawians across the country.

Muluzi says out of a total K14 billion estimated for the whole initiative in five years, government has only spent K5.8bn, dismissing speculation that the government has blown the entire K14 billion before the end of the first phase.

Muluzi says those having doubts with the financial management of the Malata and Cement Subsidy Programme are free to investigate to find out if there could be any malpractice happening within the machinery.

The minister admitted though that the initiative is facing logistical challenges, citing poor access roads to some areas.

It is expected that government will construct over 15 thousand houses for selected poor masses by the end of April this year.

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