World Bank stops funding Malawi Public Works Programmes

Jean Kalilani

The National Local Government Finance Committee( NLGFC) has renewed its commitment to address concerns raised by the World Bank over poor implementation of Public Works Programs( PWP) in the country citing lack of visible assets on the ground and increased poverty levels among beneficiaries.

The World Bank has cited  poor quality assets and lack of ownership of created assets, among many other concerns, have made development partners not willing to support the program any more in the country.

In view of this, the NLGFC has developed a new approach to pilot the new Public Works Programs again in ten( 10) districts of the country following World Bank’s dissatisfaction with the previous Public Works Programs with the hope of winning confidence.

Speaking during an extra ordinary full council meeting held at the Dowa boma, a Social Protection Officer from NLGFC, Mrs. Inna Thombozi, said the PWP MASAF lV new approach will attempt to address the concerns of the development partners such as three cycles per year, repeater targeting, catchment management approach, more bias on land resources, conservation and afforestation projects and win_ win situation.

Thombozi said the new approach will see not many beneficiaries as the previous MASAF’s 1, 2,3 and 4 giving an example of Dowa, where only 1000 households will benefit with a major objective of achieving the intended outcomes and when successful, it will bring more positives to all districts across the country.

She said the NLGFC sat down to propose solutions of the new approach convincing the development partners to try some aspects of PWP which it think will generate results needed and that if given a go ahead to try implementing monthly, households receiving wages every after months, selecting beneficiaries only from Unified Beneficiary Register( UBR), creating budget lines for extension staff and council secretariat and to have a Grievance Redress Mechanism( GRM) system.

The officer appealed to the council to take this message to the communities for them to understand this arrangement with the local leaders assisting in mobilizing communities to make the PWP new approach a success in Dowa.

In his remarks, Dowa South East parliamentarian, Harry Njoka Chipeni, said the Dowa District Council welcomes the proposal to pilot the PWP in the district with some reservations citing lack of implementation guidelines, poor timing and non_ disclosure of budget for each district on the pilot saying all these need to be answered in time for the PWP to be in the interest of all.

Njoka asked the NLGFC to come to the district again with the budget allocation and guidelines for the district saying the very same development partners have labelled Malawi as a number one country in corruptions.

On her part, the then Minister of Gender, Children, Disabilities and Social Welfare now Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Jean Nachika Kaliliani, pleaded with the development partners not to leave the poor people behind in their stand to alleviate their sufferings but instead, find solutions of addressing the assets on the ground.

The new PWP approach will start to be implemented in March, next year in 10( ten) districts such as Chitipa and Karonga in the North, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Dowa and Nkhotakota in the Centre with Chiladzulu, Blantyre, Balaka and Phalombe in the Southern Region of Malawi.