Out of over one million Malawians that were lined up to benefit from the highly publicized Malawi Rural Development fund (Mardef), only a quarter have done so since the project was launched seven years ago, a report by The Business Times has revealed.
In the report, the midweek publication found out that only 248,000 people have benefited from the government loans approved in 2005 by the National Assembly leaving behind over 670,000 waiting for years for their time to come.
It is estimated that if the list of beneficiaries is anything to go by then it would take 19 years for the whole backlog to be cleared.
“K1 billion was disbursed at programme inception in 2005 and the K500 million has been realized from proceeds of a Local Registered Stock issued by the government,” acknowledged Mardef boss Joseph Mononga.
He however, was quick to push the blame on Parliament saying it has the powers to make available the remaining amount of money for many Malawians to benefit.
He added: “These funds can only come through approval by Parliament during budget sessions and we make our requests on yearly basis.”
There was no immediate response from the government but President Mrs. Joyce Banda has put it part of her administration’s priority among priorities to assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Mardef was one of late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s highly politicized projects that benefited largely then ruling DPP cohorts leaving out deserving Malawians languishing in abject poverty.
Initially it was launched as a vehicle to address challenges facing youth in Malawi by providing them with knowledge, essential skills, competencies and opportunities to engage in micro, small and medium enterprises as a self employment mechanism.