Malawi Watch demands probe on fertiliser subsidy contracts

Malawi Watch, one of the country’s civil society organizations, has called for an immediate investigation into the awarding of fertilizer suppliers in this year’s fertilizer subsidy programme.

Malawi Watch Executive Director, Billy Banda, speaking in Capital Radio’s Sunday Round-Table  discussion programme said the way government has handled the awarding of contracts and registration of beneficiaries in this year’s subsidy raises suspicions  need inquiry.

“The current administration has failed to learn from previous mistakes that marred the programme. Government is not handling the subsidy programme in transparent manner. There is a need for Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate the issue,” Banda who was one of the panelists to the popuralprogram .

Namakhwa: Why reducing beneficiaries in Lhomwe belt

Banda said PP led government has failed to justify the cancellation of tenders for fertilizer suppliers, arguing instead of being transparent it is committing same offense of monopolizing and politicizing the programme.

“The way it has handled the awarding of contracts and registration of beneficiaries was not done to the best interest of ordinary Malawians. The programme has to benefit ordinary people not those in positions. The authorities have to set up an inquiry into how the programme is being handled because it’s unfortunate that it lacks transparency,” he said.

Banda’s comments came following growing concerns especially on the social media that alleges the local company awarded contracts to supply the fertilizer were owned by some top ruling PP officials who happen to hold ministerial positions in this current administration.

Last week Nyasa Times also revealed that the current government offered fertilizer supply contracts to foreign companies who offered costly bids comparing to local companies that were left out despite being less costly.

Also commenting in the same program, former deputy minister of agriculture, Kingsley Namakhwa questioned government on its move to reduce number of beneficiaries in some districts despite it saying it has increased the number this year.

“I tend to wonder how government is justifying its claims that it has increased the number of beneficiaries this year while at same time it has reduced the number of in some districts. How will it justify that?” wondered Namakhwa.

According to sourced information government has reduced the number of beneficiaries in some districts while increasing the number in some, the development that raised alot of debate on the local scene.

The information sourced from ministry of Agriculture show this year Fertilizer Subsidy Thyolo has 73,600 beneficiaries down from last year’s 88,800, Phalombe had 52,700 and now 43,200, Rumphi had 25,700 and now 19,700.

But there is an increase in Zomba from 79,900 to now 95,200 beneficiaries, Mangochi was 66,300 and now 87,500, Machinga has gone up from 56,900 to  67,300, Mzimba is having 99,700 from 93,500, Dedza was 59,200 and now 75,900, Dowa had  63,700 and now 83,000. Lhomwe belt has been slashed and eastern region and Mzimba up.

Namakhwa conquered with another panelist, Mafunde President George Mnesa who called on for government to decentralize the identification and registration fertilizer subsidy programme by empowering district agriculture workers who directly work with beneficiries on the ground to ensure transparency.

Government is expected to send K42 billion in the implementation of this year’s subsidy programme.

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