The president of the House of Auditors, Driss Jettou, said that the phenomenon of shantytowns will exist as long as rural-to-urban migration keeps growing and people continue to take unfair advantage of the program.
Rabat – The House of Auditors’ oversight committee has spotlighted a set of deficiencies regarding the implementation of the 2004-2010 “Cities without Slums” program.
In its presentation of the report before Parliament on Tuesday, the house’s oversight committee clarified that the measures taken to improve the living conditions of poor families lack a holistic approach. They are based only on providing adequate housing, without taking into consideration the social and economic barriers to ending the cycle of poverty.
The committee stressed the importance of providing basic social services such as healthcare and education, in addition to support for employment and professional integration of the population.
The report revealed that the initial beneficiaries of the program, which was expected to end in 2010, were numbered at 270,000 families in 2004 before rising to more than 472,000 families in 2018. This proves that there was major growth in the population density of slums.
Taking into account the annual increases of families living in slums, estimated at 10,600 families each year, the program has only achieved 60% of its goal. The program has housed approximately 363,000 families while housing for 109,000 is still pending, likely because housing units have not yet been completed or even programmed.
The committee explained that many people only live in slums to benefit from support that the state provides under the program, indicating that a quarter of the granted spots in the program are sold.
A lack of restraint and accountability, weakness of governing bodies, and a lack of mechanisms to monitor the spread of shantytowns contribute to the complex problem, according to the report.
Lack of transparency in implementing the program
The report also recorded poor project preparation, low work completion for facilities and infrastructure, and failure to appropriately restructure when necessary.
There are insufficient measures in place to control the phenomenon, given the absence of both a legal framework combatting slums and explicit housing benefit conditions.
The nonexistence of a beneficiaries database points to the probability that people are benefiting from the program more than once and in more than one city.
The report emphasized that some cities declared themselves “slum-free” without meeting the conditions. It also outlined that 59 out of 85 cities that claimed to be “slum-free” are generally small cities, so this “slum-free” classification does not necessarily have a significant impact on the absolute number of families living in shantytowns.
The committee called for controlling the number of beneficiaries, setting up a beneficiaries database, and respecting the deadlines for implementation of programs and works.
The report coordinators warned that granting housing in areas where there is no economic activity only aggravates the dilemma, stressing the need to provide the basic services that are still lacking in these neighborhoods.
The president of the House of Auditors, Driss Jettou, concluded by saying that the phenomenon of shantytowns will prevail as long as rural-to-urban migration grows yearly and as long as the practice of residing in shantytowns as a dishonest way to obtain housing continues.