Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Member of Parliament for Nsanje Lalanje, who is also chairperson of Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament, Gladys Ganda, has said parliament must step up and play its oversight role to ensure that public funds are not being abused by people with ulterior agenda.
Ganda said this in reaction to revelations that the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) is failing to account for money amounting to K6.2 billion meant to fight the Covid-19 pandemic that it received in October last year.
In an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times, Ganda said in as much as she applauds President Lazarus Chakwera for ordering Dodma to submit its expenditure report to the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 within 48 hours, she is disappointed with the slow pace at which government is resolving the issue and said it is important to extend this responsibility to parliament so that Malawians know what is happening to their taxes.
“I am disappointed with what government is doing on the K6.2 billion matter because people voted for the Tonse Alliance government based on its promises that it will be transparent in its work for Malawians. I believe this is an opportunity for government to demonstrate that transparency by accounting down to the last penny of this K6.2 billion meant for Covid-19,” said Ganda.
She added that government must borrow a page from the citizen initiative for Covid-19 co-founded by France based Stanley Onjezani Kenani and social media activist, Thandi ‘Wa Pulumuheya’ Hara, which is doing a splendid job in accounting for every donation that it is receiving.
Said Ganda: “The citizen initiative is being transparent by publishing its donors and donations plus its expenditure report. I have not seen anywhere where these private citizens are claiming huge meeting allowances out of these donations. Allowances for what? This tendency of claiming huge allowances on anything must stop, because we need this money to buy hospital equipment and other essentials critically needed to fight this pandemic”
The Nsanje Lalanje legislator said she is aware that parliament cannot meet in the plenary because members may be exposed to the risk of catching the coronavirus.
She, however, advocated for a meeting of parliamentary committees notably the Budget and Finance Committee; Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Health Committee to discuss reports from various government clusters, and to map out the way forward as well as providing accurate information to Malawians.
The parliamentarian said currently “the world is laughing at us based on the way we are managing our public funds”. She added the K6.2 billion fiasco shows that the mismanagement and chaos that characterised the Affordable Input Subsidy (AIP) was not just an isolated incident but more of a character of this government.
“Parliament must, therefore, not bury its head in the sand but to step up to the plate and bring sanity to how public funds are managed in this country. Apart from parliament just meeting for the K6.2 billion misappropriated funds, there is also a K17.5 billion funding which the President announced on 17th January, 2021 that he had ordered the Ministry of Finance to release towards the fight against this deadly pandemic.
“We also as parliament need to scrutinise how those funds are being utilised to that the public is left with no doubt as to whether the money is serving its purpose or not,” added the Budget and Finance Committee Chairperson.
In his latest televised national address, President Chakwera ordered Dodmato submit an expenditure report to the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 within 48 hours or face unspecified action. The 48 hours have elapsed and the public is waiting anxiously to know what has transpired.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :