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Committee worries over Fisp bidders

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The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has expressed concern over companies that bid for this year’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).

Chairperson of the committee, Joseph Chidanti-Malunga, made the remarks after meeting with officials from Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) yesterday in Blantyre.

Malunga said some of the companies that are appearing on the list have issues with the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the committee as well.

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“We came to hear from SFFRFM officials on the progress made on Fisp. As you know, last year’s Fisp was marred by a lot of irregularities that stemmed from lack of proper capacity verification of the companies that were awarded the contracts. The list of bidders they have shown us indicates companies that have queries with us as well as the ACB. Some companies do not have any expertise in the agriculture field,” he said.

SFFRFM Chief Executive Officer, Andy Kalinde, said the company received 32 bidders whom the company verified with commercial banks, evaluated before compiling a list which was sent to ACB and Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP).

Kalinde said he could not disclose companies contained in the list that was presented to ODPP and ACB, arguing the process is ongoing.

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“We presented the report on August 1 2017 and, currently, we are waiting for a ‘no objection’ to guide us into the next stage of the procurement process. We do not control who bids in the bidding process. The Public Procurement Act permits anyone to bid,” he said.

This year in Fisp, the government has allocated K33.5 billion for the purchase of 90,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser, 4,500 metric tonnes of improved maize seed and 1,800 metric tonnes of legume seed.

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