Chakwera hosts Cabinet meeting amid AIP pressure, Chimwendo’s  ‘govt does not care’ remarks over land barter deal

President Lazarus Chakwera is this Thursday chairing a Cabinet meeting  at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe  to discuss among other issues the  flopping of Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP)   which has rendered farmers destitute with most having to queue for long hours without redeeming the inputs.

Minister Chimwendo Banda: Let the law take its course

Last week, President Lazarus Chakwera, in his weekly address, also expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which the programme is being implemented.

The President said  in a radio address he intends to meet Cabinet ministers to discuss how best government can resolve the AIP implementation challenges.

The cabinet meeting was confirmed by Office of President and Cabinet at Capital Hill in Lilongwe.

The Tonse Alliance government promised during the campaign prior to the June 23 fresh presidential election that it will offer a universal farm input subsidy to Malawians. The government replaced the Farm Input Subsidy Programme with a new policy dubbed AIP.

State vice-president Saulos Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Public Sector Reforms, will join discussions at the top table with the President.

The 32-member Cabinet  is also meeting as the Chakwera administration has faced media backlash over sentiments expressed by Minister of Homeland  Security Richard Chimwendo Banda  that government does not care about the consequences of unceremoniously  cancelling an investment deal, which a leading daily newspaper  has commented in its editorial column that “Malawians have every reasons to get worried.”

Chimwendo comments were on the offer by the Malawi government for an investor to use  a Police C Company site along the Kamuzu Procession Road in Lilongwe’s Old Town to construct police houses  and shopping town in the deal which 20 hectares of land was bartered for the project.

He said they want the deal to be reviewed and that Cabinet will get a consensus on how to proceed with the infrastructure, saying there is no way they would allow “barter” deal whether it followed due process of the law.

Said Chimwendo Banda: “Government does not batter land whatsoever and this  government will not barter land. This is not happening, whether there are consequences or not. Let the law take its course.”

Daily newspaper, The Nation, noted in its report on the matter, that some of the consequences that Chimwendo Banda does not care about include a potential fall in investor confidence on the back on uncertainities , which could sharply shrink both foreign direct and domestic investment.

It pointed out that a drop in investment could sharply damage a country that has  already lost balance of payment support from development partners largely due to weak public finance management and poor economic governance in general.

In its extended coverage, the paper’s editorial comment said for a country in dire need of investment amid dwindling inflow of Foreign Direct Investment, “it is suicidal to handle a potential investors with such cheekiness.”

The editorial comment wondered  that if the so-called ‘barter’ deal was wrong,  the reversal was correcting or worsening the situation.

“We see it as an emotional  decision seen through political goggles but with little or no justification,” the paper said.

It said Malawians are waiting for one million jobs promised by Chakwera during the campaign and the  proposed “shopping town” by the investor in the ‘barter’ deal is one of the potential creators of such jobs.

The paper said it is “unfortunate” that instead of creating a conducive environment for investment, the prospective investors are being frustrated by the government.

“There is need to tread carefully on this issue as investment decisions have far-reaching consequences on future generations,” concluded the  comment.

According to the deal of the land  seen by Nyasa Times,  the contractor would construct 140 three bed roomed dwelling houses, office blocks, an armoury, a  shooting range, a garage plus inspection pit, parade and football grounds, a multipurpose hall  at various locations to be agreed with Malawi Police Services.

Under terms of the deal, which was signed by the previous government, involves construction of an extra 160 three bed roomed dwelling houses at the National Police Headquarters in Area 30 Lilongwe.

The barter-deal also means the contractor would construct desegregated houses for up to 150 males and 140 females that will accommodate up to eight persons per room with parking for four armoured vehicles at Area 6 in Lilongwe.

Authorities  say the deal is legally binding with consultations done for period of about two years with representation at both senior and technical level during the previous regime.

Key ministries and institutions involved  in the consultations were Ministry of Homeland , Lands,  Ministry  of Transport , Ministry of Finance , Ministry of Justice  which vetted, Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) and  the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).

Wadi & Associates, lawyers for tthe project who are specialist attorneys in construction contracts and land law, confirmed the negotiations took  very long to ensure compliance with all legal requirements as well as standards and specifications of the buildings.

The attonneys also mentioned that the (construction in exchange of land project involved  an aspect of public disposal and Section 38 (2) (c) of Public  Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act was duly complied.

As the agreement had a time clause, implementation of the agreement commenced forthwith and there has been part performance of the contract in respect of planning, drawings, mobilization of materials and equipment and actual construction works.

The plans and drawings were duly processed and there were approved by Lilongwe City Council.

Observers say it would be economical for government to uphold the contract which would have made it possible for Police to acquire modern houses for their staff.

It is generally undisputed that the area where PMF is located in Area 2 is no longer suitable for use as a residential area.

This is a second time a barter-deal with Malawi government has become controversial.

Former president Joyce Banda had signed also weapon procurement deal with South Africa’s Paramount Group   to supply Malawi with equipment that includes seven interceptor boats and training for the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) bartering a presidential jet.

However, the deal was cancelled in August 2013 by former president Peter Mutharika, as it was seen to be substantially over-valued while its repayment terms were unsustainable for the struggling economy.

However, after concluding its probe of the deal, the government decided to renegotiate terms instead of cancelling it.

The government discovered that ex-President Banda had violated the constitution by barter-trading the Dassault Falcon 900EX jet, valued at $15 million, to a Paramount Group subsidiary as part of the settlement for the arms deal. The jet was sold in 2012.

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Ku lumbadzi
Ku lumbadzi
8 months ago

My take ,those from the DPP government who facilitated the deal in return must have got substantial amount of money, now these new kids on the block feel they should be something for them as well,I don’t think they are really worried about the wrongs and rights,we are talking about politicians here,very unprincipled people,oppurtunist,scavenging,only worried about their own bellies,they know their predecessors failed to build any houses for our well deserving police and arm forces,as 26 years of unprecedented heist took place, maybe this government might build the needed housing,but if they can’t build a bus terminal or markets for… Read more »

AtuganireSA. an
AtuganireSA. an
8 months ago

Ku Lilongwe City Council kunazaza ma Cadet, mbuli zosatha ntchito. ALL they knew was corruption coupled with the then Ministry of Lands and Urban Planning. Dunderheads zokhazokha ikaniko men and women who were sidelined. Bull Dozzer shove them aside, I mean them the damn investors

Ungwelu
Ungwelu
8 months ago

This is sad. You mean the DPP Government could not think of a simpler and less risky or effective way of dealing with this situation.
Free of charge advice :There are models under PPP framework which could easily have taken care of this rather than going into losing public land in such stupid way

Kanchenga
Kanchenga
8 months ago

The whole idea of bartering land is rubbish and think that government can actually do is total unacceptable. If investors will go because of Chimwendo statement let them. We are a nation lets keep our pride. This is desperation. I hate Chimwendo but this time he is right.

Mkute
Mkute
8 months ago

The deal has to be examined and cancelled or renegotiated if necessary. Corruption fights back. The investor could be making propaganda by sponsoring articles to sell such a seemingly bad deal. One can get such prime land and in return build substandard houses. DPP signed alot of bad deals which are heavily costing the tax payer. No to barter in this day and age. Let the land be competitively sold and use the proceeds to build infrastructure for Police Service.

Segwe
Segwe
8 months ago

This guy Chomwendo Banda,guy must resign or else we will take toxthe,streets he must fall

phiri
8 months ago

ANTHUNGATI AWA ARE THE ONE WHO WILL PILL REV CHAKWERA DOWN .KUTHANGA MAGAZII, SEE WHAT YOU CAUSED AFTER ARRESTING WORKERS AT SALIMA SUGAR FATORY.PEOPLE LOCALS, WHO WANTED TO SELL THIER SUGAR THERE ARE STRANDED WITH THEIR SUGAR.BUT YOU ARE PHEEE AS NOTHING HAPPENED. KUSALIMA MUNAPEZA MORE VOTES BUT ANTHU ARE REGRETING HOHOHOOOO

phiri
8 months ago

KUNALI ANZNU ACHIMWENDO ANAPITA, WATCH YOUR LILIME WAWA

Zakeyo
Zakeyo
8 months ago

I know a failure when I see one, Mr president you are failure, period

aloga
aloga
8 months ago
Reply to  Zakeyo

And you are a genius! Get the fcuk out of here.
The human psych is very interesting. You probably believe you are correct than most people. Mabvuto abale.

Nanyati
Nanyati
8 months ago

The problem with putting thugs and hand clappers in cabinet. These people will be the downfall of the am assuming pastor. Anthu amakani omva zaokha

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