In a bid for President Dr Lazarus Chakwera led Government to probide Malawians with descent and affordable housing, Minister of Lands Sam Dalitso Kawale has announced a slum upgrading project.
In his Ministerial address in Parliament, Kawale said the project is estimated to cost Government US$ 26,900,000.00 which is an equivalent of MK28,245,000,000.00 over a period of 5 years.
This project aims at ensuring that Malawians have access to descent and affordable accommodation.
“Government has since made commitment to the implementation of the project by allocating some financial resources amounting to MK 40,000,000.00 in the 2022/2023 financial year, to enable implementation of the preliminary project activities,” said Kawale.
The Minister said the project is in line with his ministry’s mandate to provide land, housing and urban development services to the general public, stakeholders and parties seeking these services and ensure that physical developments take place in an orderly and sustainable manner.
Kawale said his Ministry has a Department of Urban Development which was created in 2008 with the mandate to provide a framework for promoting sustainable economic and physical development and growth of cities and urban centres through the provision of an enabling policy and institutional framework.
In order to adequately respond to issues of urbanization, the Ministry came up with a National Urban Policy in 2019 which was intended to provide a framework for guiding urban development programmes in the country.
“Madam Speaker, in a bid to respond to the challenges of urbanization Vis-à-vis, expansion of informal /squatter settlements, inadequate basic infrastructure and services, the Ministry of Lands has put in place a National Slum Upgrading Project which aims at improving living conditions of people in slums areas.
“You may wish to know that most of the urban poor live in unplanned and informal settlements referred to as slums. They are developed on land zoned for other uses, on river reserves which are prone to flooding and on mountain slopes which have a high risk of mud slides. This increases the vulnerability of the communities in case of disasters,” he said.
Kawale said the settlements are characterized by lack of basic services, overcrowding, lack of security of tenure, poor accessibility, substandard housing and unclean poor living conditions.
The target group for the proposed slum upgrading project are low income and vulnerable households living in informal settlements within the four major cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu.
“Madam Speaker, the project is estimated to cost about US$ 26,900,000.00 an equivalent of MK28,245,000,000.00 over a period of 5 years. Government has since made commitment to the implementation of the project by allocating some financial resources amounting to MK40,000,000.00 in the 2022/2023 financial year, to enable implementation of the preliminary project activities,” he said.
Kawale said the project will be piloted in the City of Lilongwe Particularly Mgona and Nchezi (along the Lilongwe Salima road) areas.
“Land was also identified at Likuni for a possible extension of the project. The beauty with Nchezi is that the resettled people will not be disturbed from their former source of livelihood which is the Kanengo industrial site.
“After a successful pilot, it is expected that the project will be replicated in other cities of Zomba, Blantyre and Mzuzu. Since the identified area at Nchezi is only about 3 hectares, which is estimated to accommodate about 300 low income earning households, plans are ongoing to extend and expand the area in order for the project to accommodate more beneficiaries,” said Kawale.
He added that with land becoming more scarce, the Ministry is “seriously” considering to build high-rise dwelling units to accommodate a lot of people within a small area.
“The project targets about 1800 households from Mgona. Once the project rolls out to other cities after a successful pilot in Lilongwe, it is anticipated that about 10,000 households will have better access to basic services and infrastructure,” said Kawale.
President Chakwera has demonstrated commitment that he wants people in the country to be accommodated in descent and affordable housing. Recently the president Commissioned 15 houses in Mangochi for security personnel.