Minister of Lands Kezzie Msukwa has disclosed that multiple plot allocations in urban centres and the lakeshore areas, idle estates, rampant encroachment on public and private land and lack of transparency in land administration are some of the challenges his ministry is grappling with.
Msukwa made the revelations when he presented a ministerial statement on the Land Situation in Malawi in Parliament on 19th March, 2021.
He said these cases have culminated into the concentration of plots in the hands of few elites, a lot of land disputes and litigations.
The minister also told Parliament that foreigners hold too much land because indigenous Malawians have sold the land to them.
“My ministry has established that most of such plots have initially been allocated to indigenous Malawians, who, in turn, sell them to foreigners and Malawians of other origins. This is a particularly big problem in Blantyre and Lilongwe cities.
“Investigations carried out by my ministry reveals that most of those land parcels were not acquired from traditional urban landlords (Ministry of Lands, Malawi Housing Corporation, City Councils and Malawi Investment and Trade Centre of the Airport development Limited), rather they were acquired from the market, sold by ordinary Malawians and private landlords.” said Msukwa.
In an attempt to arrest the vice, the minister said Government is committed to ensure that the provisions of the Registered Land (Amendement) Act, 2016 is fully implemented. The Act stipulates that the asking value of any land parcel that is being sold or transferred to a foreigner must be vetted.
He further said the ministry is currently reviewing all land related laws to seal any loopholes that might exist in the current laws to address concerns that Malawians have on land.
“My ministry will also ensure that plots are allocated only to individuals who have demonstrable financial capacity to develop them. It will be incumbent upon my ministry to ensure that the same individuals are not offered many plots or indeed issued with many leases,” said Msukwa.
Msukwa also noted that as the ministry is addressing the problem of foreigners holding a lot of land, it also welcomes investors who would be allocated land commensurate with their investment.