Government under fire on Admarc
Committee faults turn-around strategy package
By Cathy Maulidi:
The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has described as lack of seriousness the government’s decision to set aside K4 billion for Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) turn around.
In the 2023-24 national budget, Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Sosten Gwengwe said K4 billion would be used to recapitalise Admarc.
“Apart from being allocated K6 billion for restructuring costs in the 2022-23 budget, Admarc has also been allocated K4 billion in the 2023-24 budget as start-up resources for its recapitalisation,” Gwengwe said when presenting the budget statement on Thursday.
But Agriculture Committee of Parliament Chairperson Sameer Suleman told The Daily Times that the amount is on the lower side.
“This is far from what we were expecting. What Malawians want is to see Admarc revamped. As such, K4 billion cannot jumpstart Admarc. That’s lack of seriousness.
“Recapitalisation of Admarc will require between K300 billion and K500 billion if we want Admarc to work effectively, not this K4 billion. If we are to resuscitate Admarc, then we need to invest in it,” Suleman said.
On his part, agriculture policy expert Leonard Chimwaza said the amount is on the lower side, considering that Admarc is a big institution.
“When I heard about the figure K4 billion being mentioned in the budget, I was puzzled. How do you start to recapitalise Admarc with that amount?” Chimwaza said.
He added that Malawians are looking forward to having a robust Admarc.
In 2020, Admarc former general manager Felix Jumbe said the grain trader needed at least K300 billion to remain effective.
And most immediate Admarc former general manager Rhino Chiphiko told the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture that the institution needed K64 billion to fund its turn-around strategy.
At the moment, Admarc is undergoing restructuring and has retrenched all its staff.
In October last year, Admarc Head of Human Resource and Administration Ethel Umali Zilirakhasu told the Commissions and Statutory Committee of Parliament that the grain trader needed about K8.9 billion for the retrenchment exercise alone.