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Lazarus Chakwera addresses the nation today

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By Wezi Gausi

President Lazarus Chakwera addresses the nation tonight on issues surrounding the 2022 Agriculture Input Programme (AIP), among others.

According to a statement from State House, the address starts at 7.

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This should be probably a highly-anticipated statement as AIP this year has been shrouded in mystery on a number of aspects.

Government has not disclosed the number of beneficiaries. It has all not given any information on identification of suppliers and status of import of fertilisers into the country.

Malawians’ anxiety worsened two weeks ago when Ministry of Agriculture revealed it has been duped of K750 million in a fertiliser purchase deal.

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In a statement signed by Principal Secretary Sandram Maweru, the ministry said it had paid the money as commitment fees to the United Kingdom-based Barkaat Foods Limited which it said had a production line with Yara Limited.

But Barkaat Foods Limited terminated the contract with the government after pocketing the money.

The ministry issued the statement in response to long-running allegations that government had been swindled K30 billion in a fertiliser purchase contract. Government denies this.

It is expected that in his address, President Chakwera will tackle all sticky issues about the programme this year.

Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Sameer Suleman told Times on Sunday that he also expects the President to announce changes at the Ministry of Agriculture for, according to him, poor performance on AIP this year.

Suleman said the changes should include reshuffling its senior ranks including removing minister Lobin Lowe.

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