Lumber, Galvanise, and Cement: A problem compounded
The abject poverty present in our country apparently created the necessity for giving those in extreme poverty building materials to assist with the repair and building of their homes.
If this program was devised to influence voters to favour certain political candidates, it is apparently very successful. Then party funds rather than public funds should be used for such activities. If, however, as it is known, taxpayers’ monies are utilised, then the relevant social welfare civil servants rather than politicians should manage it. Sometimes private institutions with much volunteer help can accomplish more with the same resources, if the needs of the poor are to be met.
We know the amount of money that were spent with the main supplier to purchase the materials.
The record of the money should be well documented by banks and the Ministry of Finance and perhaps the Ministry of Housing. The names and addresses of each recipient of the materials are lodged somewhere also.
Based on this information, an auditor can check to see where the money and materials went.
The ultimate goal was for there to be improvement in the housing situation of those who received the materials.
This activity must be very successful because it has been repeated several times. Who is accountable if the steel rusts, the cement harden, and woodlice eat the lumber?
Was there a tendering process for the contract to supply the materials?
Would the local hardwares have done a better job in supplying materials when they are needed?
Would they keep better records for auditing purposes? With the delivery of so much materials to the poor, why so few are being asked to help with the construction for the utilisation of the materials? What Ministry or Minister or Permanent Secretary can account for all this lumber, galvanise, and cement?
To prevent the hardening of cement, rusting of steel, and rotting of lumber, we need to also arrange for the tradesmen to use them on the projects to benefit the recipients. Just as it takes caregivers to care for the elderly, similarly it takes workmen to repair and build housing for the needy. Simply providing materials will not be sufficient. We cannot afford continued wastage. Those responsible must be held accountable.
By Anthony Stewart, PhD