Minister of Local Government Kondwani Nankhumwa on Monday handed over a K2:6 cheque to market traders of Lilongwe’s Area 18 market gutted down by fire a few weeks ago, the last but one cheque making a total of K53 million the government is ‘compensating’ traders whose wares were destroyed in inferno.
Nankhumwa told the traders and vendors that the money was from President Peter Mutharika who, he said was concerned with the fires that he said destroyed the economic lifeline of ordinary Malawians.
However, it was difficult to verify whether the money was from the president’s personal account or State House account.
Nankhumwa said he has given out K23 million to Kasungu market traders, K2 million to Mwanza market traders, K13 million to Mzimba market vendors, K2.7 million to Mzuzu market traders and soon he will be travelling down to Salima to give them their K2 million cheque.
He said in total, the government has splashed out K53 million in free money to the traders.
However, this has drawn criticism from some quarters who think the government could have loaned the traders the money instead of splashing out free money in these turbulent economic times.
Nankhumwa asked the Lilongwe City Council to construct the market of Area 18, a view shared by the area’s member of parliament, David Bisnowatty.
The council had earlier said it had no money to construct the market and traders were soliciting money to put up a new market.