The government in partnership with Usaid and Dfid has launched a pilot project in Lilongwe District, to enhance transparency in revenue collection at council level.
The initiative, established as part of the Local Government Accountability and Performance (LGAP), will among others see vendors paying market fees through mobile money platforms.
The money will go into the government accounts unlike in the past, when the money was collected by market masters and other council officials.
The development comes against a background of criticism levelled against councils in the country by vendors and small scale business operators that markets are in dilapidated states despite payment of market fees.
Speaking during the launch of the platform at Chigwirizano Market in Lilongwe, Principal Secretary of Local Government and Rural Development, Kiswell Dakamau, said the initiative will help enhance revenue and public financial management for improved service delivery to councils.
“This launch is not only timely, but of paramount importance for the country to achieve meaningful development though the local government reforms. The reforms are expected to improve the delivery of public services to citizens, especially those in the rural areas of Malawi,” Dakamau said.
He added that if the pilot project proves to be efficient the initiative will be introduced in all local councils across the country.
Usaid Mission Director, Little ton Tazewell, said decentralisation in Malawi is the key next step in improving governance, and the LGAP project is just taking the initiative to the grassroots.
“The project aims at improving revenue generation, accountability and transparency in the context of how these resources are used. For us it’s critical to see that issues around public services owned by the people are to ensure the ability of the government to raise its own services,” Tazewell said.
One of the vendors trading at the Chigwirizano Market, Trasizio Divason, said the initiative gives them a platform to track the money they pay through market fees and demand developmental projects.