President Chakwera poses with MPs at Parliament Building in 2021
Malawi Government plans to spend K60 billion on construction of houses and offices for Members of Parliament in all the 193 constituencies.
The Nation on Sunday reported that the amount to be spent on the houses has been outlined in the 2022 Public Sector Investment Programme (Psip), a budgetary document that outlines all planned development projects.
Government also plans to construct houses for the Speaker of the National Assembly, two deputies and the leader of opposition. This has been allocated K1.7 billion.
In 2020, President Lazarus Chakwera announced the plan to build official residences for MPs “to ensure they are part of the communities they represent.” He added that his administration was looking for investors for the project
In the PSIP, Malawi Ministry of Finance has not indicated how Malawi will source the K60 billion for the construction of the houses.
“Pipeline Projects are projects that have been appraised and approved through the Psip process but have not secured funding,” the document says.
It is expected that each house will cost K311 million which according to The Nation on Sunday is five times more than the K60 million required for a modern three-bedroom self-contained town house.
Commenting on the project, Minister of Lands Sam Kawale said there was no timeline yet.
Meanwhile, the government has come under fire over the project which has been described as a waste of money.
Social commentator Onjezani Kenani says Malawi’s priorities are sad as the country will borrow K60 billion to build the houses despite the poor state of health facilities in the country.
“If we really wanted to upgrade our hospitals we could. The K60 billion being wasted on building houses for MPs is more than enough to make sure each hospital is fully equipped. This could be good not only for our people, but we could also earn forex through medical tourism by those from neighbouring countries coming over to seek treatment,” Kenani wrote on Facebook.
Speaking to the Nation, Associate Professor of Economics at the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences Betchani Tchereni wondered why houses are being built in constituencies when MPs spend more time in Lilongwe where they work.
He said: “Where more resources are actually squandered is where the MPs have moved to Lilongwe for a house and committee meetings. We would have rather setup a Parliament village in Lilongwe then in that way we can save a lot of resources.”
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