Malga criticises withdrawal of Covid funds from local councils

The Malawi Local Government Association (Malga)–an umbrella body of all local councils–has expressed its concern over the withdrawal of Coronavirus (Covid-19) funds from councils by the central government, saying the decision “undermines the spirit of decentralization”.

Zeru Mkandawire: Hypocrisy

Malga acting executive director, Hadrod Zeru Mkandawire, made these sentiments in an interview with Nyasa Times, adding that central government overlooked political leaderships of the councils when it made such a “serious” decision

The concerns come barely two days after central government, through Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) and Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, blocked local councils and some clusters from spending their portions in the MK17 billion Covid-19 funding–which government released to finance various public sector interventions in the fight against the pandemic.

Dodma and the presidential taskforce also ordered councils and clusters to transfer back all their remaining amounts to Dodma’s account and further directed them to submit their proposed itemized activity plans.

Apparently, all local councils had been allocated one billion kwacha–from which each council was given a befitting amount to procure facemasks meant to be distributed freely to needy citizens.

Dodma and the presidential taskforce never gave reasons why government decided to withdraw these funds from local councils.

Nevertheless, Mkandawire bashed their decision, further describing it as “smacking of hypocrisy”.

He said: “We are disturbed by the decision taken by the Central Government to withdraw Covid funds from local governments drawn from the K17.5 billion. Though no official reasons have been provided for this withdraw, the central government is insinuating that the local councils are not capable of managing the Covid funding prudently hence probably instructing the local governments to submit intervention plans for action”.

Mkandawire added that the decision not only smacks of hypocrisy but also undermines the spirit of decentralization and respect for territorial approach to development and policy implementation within the set up of “our devolution”.

“The decision is hypocritical because the central government is trying to pitch itself as a saint and yet records and reports indicate otherwise as far as management of Covid funding is concerned. Actually, proportionally, the local governments have done much better in the fight against Covid 19 notwithstanding the impending investigations on the same in the wake of the interdiction of DCs and CEOs,” he said.

He further said Malga wonders if the central government took into consideration ripple effects and local economic benefits the funding would have done at the local level as face masks would have been procured locally.

“Furthermore, the withdrawal of the funding has come at a time most councils were at advanced stage in procuring the face masks from local suppliers and central government has not provided a clear guidance on this.

“We, therefore, urge the central government to critically analyse its decision and see if indeed it will effectively contribute to the fight against Covid 19 at the local level or not because Malawians will hold central government accountable should there be a mess,” said Mkandawire.

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1 year ago

Kaya zanu izo zilimbanani. Dyera ndi umbava ndi zomwe zachuluka pa ndalama za Covid osati kuthandiza anthu.

Rocky Dada
Rocky Dada
1 year ago

I do agree with the acting executive director. However, lets wait for the investigations, in a few weeks time the report will be out and further action will be taken then. Yes, i do agree, decentralisation is ideal in the development of this Nation. And we need authorities in districts who have respect for taxpayers funds by utilizing funda appropriately for intended purposes. We need authorities who are morally upright and those who ascribe to our dev agenda in Vision 2063. Lets not play blame game at the moment, lets wait for the report, inspite of this, funding to all… Read more »

Nambuma Girl
Nambuma Girl
1 year ago

I just feel the whole issue of interdicting DCs, CEO and more especially totally wrong and unheard-of. How can Government, one mirninf, just wake-up and issue interdiction orders without hearing from the concerned parties? What if, some of the interdicted parties are free from the finding? Ndikuona ngati a Chakwera anachita mopupuluma zinthuzi. I am ashamed on his behalf. My advice is that “when making such decisions, kumbukilani kuti kuli mawa.

1 year ago

Akulandani mane anthu mwakwiya. Mukadya ku central hospital. Paja ndinu aku ma district eti. Mukadya kwa DHO

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