Councils ignorant on legal procurement frameworks

Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Hivos have established that duty-bearers in district and local councils are not conversant with legal frameworks and other procedures that regulate the public procurement processes.

CCJP Coordinator for Mangochi Diocese, Bruno Banda, has said this is negatively contributing to misuse of public funds in councils.

Banda made the sentiments during an interface meeting CCJP and Hivos convened for rights holders and duty-bearers in Mangochi.

He said the government is losing billions of taxpayers’ money due to dubious transactions in procurement processes.

“There’s need for responsible officers in councils and the citizens at large to rise up from their slumber and begin to hold duty-bearers accountable in the way they use public funds,” he said, adding that the government needs to seal these loopholes in order to save public resources from further abuse.

Banda said his organization is concerned with low participation of the locals in various developments in their respective areas which has also opened room for speculation that there is no accountability in the way duty bearers are discharging their duties.

Mangochi CCJP Diocesan
Secretary Bruno Banda 

He said it is against this background that CCJP and Hivos have started building the capacity of Members of Parliament (MPs), Ward Councilors, Area Development Committee (ADC) members and other stakeholders in legal frameworks and other procedures that regulate the public procurement processes.

CCJP and Hivos are jointly implementing a three year project titled “Voices and Actions for Accountability in Malawi, to the tune of €289 889”.

The project aims at sealing the existing gaps in the procurement sector.

During the meeting, stakeholders discussed means through which they can fully participate in public procurement processes.

MP for Mangochi Central Constituency, Victoria Kingstone, described the meeting as an eye opener, saying it will help to maximize the potential to achieve various development in their areas.

Kingstone said the meeting will help respective members of the council to collaborate and work together for the betterment of developing their constituencies.

She highlighted the squabbles between MPs, Councilors and ADC members including other council officials as some of the reasons that have led to retarding growth of many districts in the country.

The meeting is so essential because it will help to bring sanity in councils where there were disagreements on procurement processes and as well as on how various contractors can be identified, she said.

Amongst the recommendations, the MP said it is essential for CCJP to consider administering these meetings immediately after elections of these duty bearers so that they should know their duties well instead of mingling and interfering in each other’s responsibilities.

The goal of the project is to strengthen the capacity of Malawians, CSOs, Media, high spending ministries, Department and Agencies in doing so they will contribute towards viable budget and procurement processes in the country.

The project is being implemented in seven district of Blantyre, Dowa, Mangochi, Ntcheu, Mzimba, Mzuzu and Zomba.

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