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Malawi government accused of neglecting roads funds

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The Business and Finance Committee of Parliament has accused the government of not allocating enough funds for roads projects, a situation leading to the accumulation of huge and costly arrears.

Speaking in the wake of the service charter that the Roads Fund Authority (RFA) has launched, the committee chairperson Rhino Chiphiko said despite some noticeable efficiency at RFA in the past 10 years, the government has paid less attention to roads funding.

In the charter, RFA promises that once all the necessary documentation on the contract has been handed over to the Administration, the payments will be done within seven days.

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Chiphiko said government has failed to provide enough funds to RFA which has affected progress in terms of cash flow to contractors.

“I must recognise the fact that, as government, we haven’t been responsible enough to put enough resources to road fund for dispersing to contractors,” Chiphiko said.

He said in the past six to seven years government has not been remitting enough funds to RFA in spite of some politically-motivated road projects that have cropped up.

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“The government is always quick to sign road projects. And if you look at it, some of the projects are signed without even being sanctioned in the budget but because the President has promised they are forced to sign the contract thereby putting more pressure on Roads Fund[Authority],” he said.

According to one of the Directors in the board of RFA, Mathews Chikankheni, the Administration’s objective of the charter is to ensure that there is no relaxation in the way RFA provides its services.

“In the past we have been receiving complaints from some other contractors who say payments are delaying and also some misunderstandings between the contractors and ourselves and the implementing authority, the Roads [Fund] Authority. But what we are saying in this charter is that we will be paying the contractors just seven after everything is submitted. So there won’t be any delays in payments,” Chikankheni said.

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