The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has given Transglobe Produce Limited 48 hours to vacate the injunction it obtained restraining the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development from carrying any activities relating to the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) .
The injunction was obtained against the programme after Transglobe Produce Exports Limited was dropped from participating in the programme.
Presiding judge Kenyatta Nyirenda is expected to determine whether Fisp operations should continue.
But the Parliamentary Committee addressing a news conference in Lilongwe on Tuesday said the court order should be discharged.
According to Chairperson for the Committee, Joseph Chidamti Malunga, it is immoral for Transglobe to hold the beneficiaries of the programme and entire nation at ransom just because the company wants to benefit from the programme.
Malunga wondered why Transglobe obtained the injunction it was not on the list of successful bidders.
“We think that if they are going to work for Malawians, then they are going to feel the importance to remove their injunction as you know that issues to do with court orders are supposed to be adhered to.
“Everyone is panicking right now and the rains have started and farmers really don’t know what to do. So the first thing to do before we do anything is to make sure that they remove the injunction within 48 hours. If they don’t do, then the Committee of Parliament will consider revoking Transglobe’s licence.
“When they don’t comply with the order that we have given them then we will take the matter to Parliament. As you one of the duties of Parliament is to make resolutions or make laws. So if we make a law here; to say this is what we want as Parliament, no one is going to stop us from doing that. It is going to a law. Our duty as parliamentarians is to make resolutions or laws, we have the powers to make laws and should we make a law, everyone has to adhere to the law,” said Malunga.
Malunga claimed that the Committee was fully involved in the selection of successful bidders, asserting that Transglobe was not on the list of successful bidders as approved by the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP).
“It is immoral to hold 900,000 Malawians at ransom because they have not been a contracted. We know who was on the list of success bidders. Transglobe was not there, now to come around to say we want the contract. Where does it happen on earth if you apply for the job or whatever it is, you expect two things to win or lose.
“Now, if you lose you have no obligation whatsoever to take the client to court. It doesn’t make sense especially in this case when you take the country at ransom and waiting for to benefit from this. So, we are going to take a very bold stand to say this is what we will do if you don’t vacate the injunction within 48 hours. We take the issue to Parliament under standings orders to pass a resolution to stop Transglobe from conducting business in the country,” warned Malunga.
Besides restraining the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and SFFRFM from further distributing coupons, the court also ordered all the suppliers to stop selling the inputs under the programme.
SFFRFM approved 14 companies out of the 32 that submitted their bids to supply fertiliser and seeds for the 2017/18 agricultural season which will see about 900 000 farming families benefiting from the programme.
However, it allegedly excluded Transglobe despite being shortlisted after Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development recommended that it be dropped from the list of suppliers because one of its directors is answering a court case related to the controversial procurement of maize from Zambia.
The 2017/18 Fisp coupon distribution exercise was rolled out last week in Mchinji. Each beneficiary will get a coupon to access two bags of fertiliser and certified seed through selected agro-dealers across the country.
Fisp is a taxpayer-funded initiative that makes available farm inputs—hybrid maize seed, legumes and fertiliser—to poor smallholder farmers at subsidised rates to boost household food security.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :