Professor Hussein proposes mandating of Project Implementation Committees to procure project materials

University of Malawi (UNIMA) lecturer Professor Mustafa Hussein has proposed that Project Implementation Committees (PICs) should be given the mandate to procure project materials for small projects.

Hussein made the proposal at Liwonde in Machinga on Thursday during his presentation at a two-and-a-half-day capacity building training for CSOs on Local Authority Performance Assessment (LAPA), citizen-led project monitoring, advocacy and citizen engagement for effective local government accountability in Malawi.

Governance to Enable Service Delivery (GESD) Project organized the training with funding from the World Bank.

Hussein–Their role should go beyond project monitoring–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

The training workshop drew participants from Blantyre, Chikwawa, Dedza, Mulanje, Chiradzulu and Lilongwe.

Hussein said there is a need for a review of the role of PICs in the initiation, planning and execution of development projects in councils, stressing that it is high time the committees’ jurisdiction went beyond project monitoring.

“The role of PICs should go beyond project monitoring, but also participation in the procurement processes. They should be given mandate to procure project materials for small projects. They should also have mandate to recruit local artisans for small projects with guidance and support from the council,” he proposed.

Hussein also challenged civil society organizations (CSOs) and the media to increase their visibility during monitoring and evaluation exercises, saying project monitoring is key to successful local development projects.

He said the role of CSOs and the media underscores the spirit of independent monitoring and Mphamvu ku Anthu under the Decentralisation Policy.

“CSO and media monitoring of projects hinges on adequate capacity of non-state actors. Monitoring of projects by CSOs and the media ensures accountability, transparency and responsiveness by project implementers,” said Hussein.

Some of the participants to the capacity building training organized by GESD in Liwonde, Machinga – Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

In his presentation, Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) Executive Director George Jobe asked CSOs to take a leading role in mobilizing citizens to participate adequately and take controle of their own discretions and development decisions.

Jobe said considering that GESD Performance Based Grants Project are implemented within the Decentralization Framework, the civil society should advocate for greater and meaningful citizen participation in development projects.

“Advocacy is an important tool for ensuring that citizens participate adequately, feel more enabled to take control of their own discretions and development decisions from ADCs to VCDs to full council. Advocacy is an important tool for community development considering that it provides practical support to citizens to interrogate into the adequacy and relevance of laws, policies, regulations and policies,” he said.

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