Dodma justifies Covid allowances


The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) Wednesday admitted to the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament that it approved plans for clusters despite having more than 50 percent of their funding channelled towards allowances.

However, Dodma Director of Response and Recovery Moses Chimphepo said activities that centred on prevention awareness campaigns and training for healthcare workers necessitated that allowances be given out.

He added that, during the time in question, development partners had provided support in terms of provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other goods.


“We, at that particular time, needed to undertake training programmes preparing healthcare workers. We needed to undertake public awareness in communities. You cannot undertake certain activities without movement,” Chimphepo said.

Chimphepo indicated that local councils and the Ministry of Health were the ones affected because the latter had to train all healthcare workers on the pandemic, a development that meant the paying out of allowances.

The report presented before the committee also indicated that total goods and services expenditure amounted to K2.5 billion, allowances for clusters K2 billion and fuel K340 million.


From the total of K1.3 billion transferred to councils, K148 million was spent on PPE, goods and services cost K150 million, allowances amounted to K641 million while K131 million went towards fuel costs.

Out of the K6.2 billion funds for cluster operations, K5.049 billion had been used, leaving a balance of K1.1 billion.

Chimphepo, who is also acting controlling officer, told the committee that funds were transferred directly from the Treasury to clusters, a development that brought confusion on who to follow up on for monthly reports.

“Initially, the K6.2 billion which came from the Reserve Bank of Malawi was meant for urban cash transfers but the Treasury requested [that] the funds [go] to its account.

“We sought guidance from the Treasury on where to transfer the funds after the Ministry of Gender as well as Ministry of Trade had each requested the funds,” he said.

Pac Chairperson Shadreck Namalomba said, under the law, when disaster has been declared by the State President, funds that come are the responsibility of Dodma and not Treasury.

On the allowances, Namalomba said Dodma lacked oversight on the plans that clusters presented.

“This was, indeed, a misplaced priority. We could not have over 50 percent of K6.2 billion spent on allowances. Dodma should have criticised the submissions and offered direction. The issue of oversight was not there,” he said.

The committee would also engage the department to respond to Ombudsman Martha Chizuma’s report.

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