After engaging MACRA, MBC and MPC, Malawi’s Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima dedicated this week to hearing from parastatals in the social and infrastructure sector: Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA) and the Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC).
Here is Chilima’s statement:
The reform areas presented by these institutions not only touch on providing a social function but also to grow government’s revenue base. From the presentation of progress on current reform areas and proposed reforms, MACOHA has the potential to not only facilitate on a large scale improvement of livelihoods of persons with disabilities but also contribute to the country’s social and economic development.
The harmonisation of the Handicapped Persons Act with the Disability Act of 2012 is extremely important so that it facilitates inclusivity through disability mainstreaming. However, I learnt that through the reforms, MACOHA’s flagship programme, Bangwe Factory, acquired heavy duty machinery which is under-utilised due to inadequate resources to procure raw materials.
I have suggested that MACOHA must make a business case for its factory with the aim of tapping into export opportunities that exist through the National Export Strategy. On its part, the Malawi Housing Corporation has
gone into a commercialisation drive that is bearing fruits as evidenced by the ongoing housing projects and interest from prospective investors to partner MHC in large scale projects.
I am further encouraged by the proposed reforms to increase housing supply, construction or acquisition
of commercial properties and the widening of its product portfolio to include cement block making. This far the progress is commendable.
Going forward, I have asked MHC to condense reforms related to housing and explore the possibility of increasing projection of the number of houses to be constructed, taking into account the high demand for decent and affordable housing.
For MHC to continue to survive without subventions, rentals for its housing units must be cost-effective. I have also directed that during review meetings on progress of reforms, parastatals will have to bring
representation from boards including members of the finance and audit committees of the boards once the boards are constituted.
I strongly hold the view that parastatals have the potential to do more beyond provision of social services.