Lazarus Chakwera gives 2 ministers ultimatums
President Lazarus Chakwera has given ultimatums to Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe and Transport and Public Works Minister Jacob Hara on implementation of the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) and construction of the Rumphi Nyika Nthalire Chitipa Road respectively.
Chakwera drew the lines to the ministers Wednesday during a development rally he held after inspecting crops in Chitipa District.
The President warned Lowe that, if preparations for the 2022-23 AIP would not be finished by September this year, the minister would face the chop from his Cabinet.
Chakwera was reacting to a call by Traditional Authority Mwaulambya of Chitipa District, who said this year’s AIP was riddled with numerous challenges which would affect output.
“And l also said this to the Minister of Agriculture and let me repeat; if we reach September and it happens that you are not prepared to roll out the AIP, that will be your notice. You and your colleagues will have to pave the way for others,” Chakwera said.
In the 2022-23 National Budget, the government has allocated K109 billion to AIP implementers, a slash from K142 billion in the previous budget.
On the Rumphi Nyika Chitipa Road, Chakwera instructed Hara to make sure that works on the 272-kilometre road start within four months.
The road is, according to community members, in poor state.
“I said at one point that, once ushered into power, we would start constructing the road. But when we went in office, we found that there were no designs and no feasibility study. I want to apologise to this group because we can’t start constructing the road without the designs and the study. So, I want Hara and your team to ensure that, within four months, works commence on this road,” he said.
Lowe said they had plans to stimulate banana and sunflower farming as the crops were common in the district.
Paramount Chief Kyungu said there was a need to revisit management of public healthcare service delivery institutions to address the problem of drug stock-outs.
“Ironically, there is a mushrooming of private hospitals in the country. You tend to wonder where they are getting the drugs,” he said
Chakwera inspected crops in Ibanda-Nowa, Yesaya and Nowa model villages under Lufita Extension Planning Area.
Chakwera was visiting Chitipa for the first time since being ushered into power on June 23 2020.