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Corruption stifling national budget’s expenditure

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A lack of proper monitoring mechanisms and continued corruption among authorities in local government structures described as major factors affecting efficient use of the national budget’s social expenditure.

This is according to the 2017 public expenditure tracking report released by the Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) on Tuesday in Lilongwe.

The development comes barely a day after a review of the recently ended IMF’s Extended Credit Facility revealed that the floor on indicative target on social spending was missed in six reviews.

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Mejn conducted citizen participation trainings with communities in six districts of Rumphi, Karonga, Mchinji, Ntcheu, Zomba and Blantyre.

Among others, the report has established that there is a lack of developmental focus resulting in inefficient use of funds and resources at the district level.

The report further notes that Constituency Development Funds (CDF) are highly politicised with Members of Parliament opting to use political party structures at the expense of Area Development Committees.

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Mejn’s Executive Director, Dalitso Kubalasa, expressed hope that continued participation of communities in budget tracking would overtime address challenges facing implementation of developmental project such as corruption.

“I cannot be able to say how much the nation is losing to corruption in local government structures but it’s a fact that all the time people try to take advantage of the system but enhanced transparency and accountability, as we have seen in this project, will help end such problems,” Kubalasa said.

The communities further attest to improvements in delivery of developmental projects following the programme.

Steve Chiwambo, Area Development Committee Chairperson from T/A Nsomba’s Area in Blantyre, said there are improvements in delivery of developmental projects since communities started tracking the local government budget.

The fiscal devolution to local authorities started in the 2005/06 financial year and has seen government devolving more than 17 sectors.

The government is required to transfer at least five percent of total government expenditure and net lending to districts.

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