Welfare monitoring body, Centre for Social Concern (CfSC), has said it is hard to understand why Malawi continues to compete with war-ravaged countries in the league of the world’s poorest territories when the country has never experienced any serious conflict in its history.
CfSC Executive Director Father James Ngahy said it is shocking that Malawians continue to wallow in abject poverty, which is often synonymous with conflict-riddled nations.
Ngahy was speaking in Lilongwe yesterday when CfSC launched the ‘Strengthening the Capacity of Citizens to Demand Transparency and Accountability in public finance management for reduced inequality and poverty’ project.
He said over the years Malawi has been spending trillions of Kwacha in national budgets and has received billions of Kwacha in development assistance but her citizens remain in a sorry state.
According to Ngahy, deep-rooted corruption could be attributed to the country’s stagnation in as far as economic development is concerned.
“It is a mere fact that corruption erodes the trust that we have in the public sector to act in our best interest. It also wastes our taxes or rates that we have earmarked for important community projects, meaning we have to put up with poor quality infrastructure or we miss out altogether.
“The Chingale-Zomba Road is an example of missing out altogether. Since the beginning of negotiations with the contractors in 2008, up to today, the 60-kilometres road is still under construction,” Ngahy said.
According to Ngahy, regionalism and nepotism also exacerbate inequality and poverty in society.
According to CfSC, the project, which is financially supported by GIZ, seeks to strengthen the capacity of Malawians in rural areas to demand accountability in development projects.
Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willy Kambwandira hailed CfSC for the project which, he said, is critical in promoting accountability in public finance management.
On his part, Budget Officer in the Ministry of Finance, Joyus Chandiwira, said focus on too many projects by government has led to delays in the completion of some development initiatives.
Currently, Malawi i s pursuing about 335 development projects in transport, agriculture, health, education and other sectors.
Recently, Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development, said Malawi requires about K3 trillion to complete the 335 projects.