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Malawi government to disburse K40m to constituencies

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President Peter Mutharika has directed the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development to disburse K40 million to each of the 193 constituencies this month for the Public Works Programme, The Daily Times has learnt.

According to Treasury, the money amounting to K7.7 billion, is both a grant and loan from the World Bank payable in 40 years with a grace period of five years.

Ministry of Finance spokesperson, Nations Msowoya, confirmed the directive but was quick to point out that the ministry, in conjunction with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, were discussing the modalities of how the money should be distributed.

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“We are still discussing if the money should be distributed either through ADC [Area Development Committee] or through constituency level,” said Msowoya.

He added that part of the money is with government while the other chunk is still with the World Bank.

While confirming the development, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, said the details of the programme will be explained at a press conference this week where Minister of Finance, Goodall Gondwe, and a World Bank representative will be present.

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However, Nankhumwa said the programme will be conducted in two phases starting from December to January and February to March next year.

“Every community member working under this programme will be getting K600 per day and each member will be required to work for 24 days.

“The aim of the programme is to reduce the impact of the drought so that people should be able to buy fertiliser and food using that money,” he said.

Nankhumwa also said Malawi and the World Bank reached this agreement after seeing the suffering of Malawians in remote areas.

The minister said the World Bank will be pumping in the money through Treasury and from there the money will be trickling down to district councils.

The beneficiaries of the programme are expected to work for eight hours per day and earn K600 so as to enable them to buy a 50kg bag of maize and one subsidized 50kg bag of fertiliser.

According to a World Bank 2006 report, the Public Works Programme was designed as an emergency response to national food shortages after droughts in 2001/2002 and 2004/2005 growing seasons led to acute food shortages throughout the country.

The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) estimated that over 2.8 million people are in need of food assistance this growing season.

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