Deputy Minister of Lands, Abida Mia, has said government is set to offer citizens decent housing, announcing plans to start constructing low-cost houses for needy Malawians.
Mia told reporters that government will provide loans for construction of urban houses that will cost K7.5 million each, meant to cater for low-income and vulnerable households.
“Government through Ministry of Lands will embark on slum upgrading project which will be implemented as a pilot project in Lilongwe once all logistics are in place,’’ she said.
The deputy minister said houses are meant to improve the living standards of needy Malawians.
“The houses are expected to cost K7.5 million each, and government shall provide loans for the people to build the houses,” Mia said.
She said the number of beneficiaries would rise in the subsequent years as government will be increasing funding to the programme.
Lilongwe City Mayor, Juliana Kaduya, said the council plans to find solutions for people living in the city, especially those staying in substandard houses and lacking access to basic public services, among other things.
Experts are certain that, with government’s commitment, it is possible for Malawi to achieve the ‘city without a slum’ status. They underline that by upgrading informal settlements and providing soft loans for locals to build low-cost houses, Malawi can make it.
In 1987 World Bank released money through the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) to develop 2 000 plots in Lilongwe in Area 47 Gulliver and Kameza and Manja in Blantyre aimed at providing low-cost housing to low-income urban dwellers in Malawi.
Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) was then tasked to implement the first phase of the project, giving mortgages to prospective home owners through the New Building Society (now NBS Bank) using the full-recovery principle.
Under this principle, those who bought the houses at $165, then, were expected to pay for them in instalments of up to 25 years. They were also required to extend the houses as part of the purchase agreement. The terms of the sale stipulated that those who did not fulfil the extension clause would lose them.