While many Malawians are dying in hospitals due to lack of drugs, among other ills, the DPP administration has purchased 12 top of the range vehicles, some of them pegged at over K112 million each, for Principal Secretaries (PSs), all costing over K1 billion, Malawi News can reveal.
The vehicles we have seen include the latest Toyota VX and Toyota TX.
The current market prices for the vehicles are MK112, 234,500.00 for Toyota
Prado VX and K82, 834,500.00 for Toyota Prado TX with duty paid.
Critics have described the move as a defeat of the government’s fiscal discipline claim.
Opposition MCP spokesperson on Finance Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi has said government spending is uncalled for. “There is no way government can procure new fleet of vehicles massively every year.
“What is happening is not necessary based on what Ministry of Finance is saying.
The procurement of new fleet of vehicles does not make sense for a country that survives on donations. What the Ministry of Finance is saying is a total lie.
All they want to do with the old fleet of vehicles is to auction them and share among the people that have been using them,” Kusamba Dzonzi said.
He said coincidentally as this is happening, Plant and Vehicle Hire and Engineering Services (PVHES) is in the process of auctioning a fleet of vehicles deemed to have outlived their life span.
He described the development as official stealing.
“Government should stop behaving as if it has enough money. Why not share the money to priority sectors such as Health, Education, and Agriculture? ” Dzonzi said.
Chancellor College economics professor Ben Kalua has said it is not necessary for Ministry of Finance to procure a new fleet when the country is in a crunch. “For government going that way it is like gloating. It is like boasting to have money and they can do whatever they can do with it, which is a worrying trend,”
He said for quite some time now vehicles and travel have been major sources of loss of government resources, citing an example that some people in government are driving big vehicles that consume a lot of fuel.
He said government is not being prudent on expenditure management.
But Treasury spokesperson Davis Sado has justified the purchase saying most ministries and departments have old vehicles that need to be replaced.
“We have been receiving several requests from various ministries, departments and agencies. The demand for vehicles is very huge, the reason being that government fleet is old. Because of [limited] resources we cannot procure the vehicles at once. Therefore, we will be buying the vehicles in phases to cover for the aging fleet,” Sado said. He, however, said the Ministry of Finance is developing a fleet management policy to help government on how to manage its vehicles.
But when he was quizzed on the timing for the purchase of the vehicles, Sado said the money that has been used to procure the vehicle was approved by Parliament in the 2017/18 budget.
According government policy, VX is reserved for government ministers, and other top officials such as the Chief Justice and the Speaker of the National Assembly.
Toyota TX type of vehicles is meant for Principal Secretaries’ and other officials of similar grades.
Government continually complains that the resource envelope is not enough forcing huge cuts in priority areas such as Health, Education and Agriculture.
It is also unable to buy vehicles for security organs such as Police forcing it to rely on the charity of the Chinese government which made a donation of over 100 vehicles to the Service only last month.
This comes as government recently bought 10 state of art vehicles for Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) commissioners’ vehicles.
Our quick check at Toyota Malawi in Blantyre where the vehicles were procured shows the cheapest low specs Prado was going at K80 million, duty paid, meaning about K800 million was spent on the vehicles.
These purchases are happening at a time government failing to resolve electricity woes the country is experiencing.
Government is borrowing money to finance sectors like health where it is failing to fix solar power to half of health facilities in the country.
At the moment, 80 health facilities have solar power and the K12 billion, to be used in the purchase of vehicles for the senior government officials could have helped to purchase solar power to half of health facilities in the country.
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