Blantyre, : Government says it has collected over K70 million from the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme (DAHSP) commonly known as Malata and cement subsidy.
Through the programme, government provides construction materials such as cement and corrugated iron sheets to poor households in form of a loan whereby beneficiaries are expected to pay back money equivalent to the commodities received.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency on Tuesday, Public Relations Officer for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Charles Vintula, said beneficiaries in the programme have started repaying the loans and that it was expected that more money would be recovered by the end of the year.
We started loan repayment awareness campaigns immediately after the disbursement of materials to beneficiaries. In our campaigns, beneficiaries were told through their local councils how they could repay the loan and why it was appropriate to pay back, Vintula said.
He added that repayment of the loan is done through Housing Development Groups (HDGs), groups tasked to collect money from beneficiaries and deposit it as a group into account number one.
This is done in respect of their financial position because some are farmers and awaiting harvest, while others are repaying through their own means.
The HDGs have all the records of who received what and how much the person is supposed to pay back and when a beneficiary pays back the loan. The records are updated and the programme secretariat is also updated, he added.
Remarking on the same, District Commissioner for Blantyre, Bennett Nkasala said his district had not yet started collecting the money from beneficiaries of the loan. However, he was quick to say the exercise would start soon.
Government programmes have procedures to follow and we were waiting for such procedures. The beneficiaries on the ground are ready to start paying back the loan and they will start soon, Nkasala said.
The DC, therefore, appealed to beneficiaries of DAHSP that when their time is due, they should come forward and pay so that others benefit from the facility.
The money they will pay back will be used to buy other materials for others to benefit as well, said Nkasala.
DAHSP was introduced in 2014 by President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika with the objective of providing decent and affordable housing to poor and vulnerable families in the country.
Since the programme started, 26, 750 houses have been completed and occupied while 28, 000 others are under construction at different levels nationwide.
Source: MANA Online