Blantyre, three other councils miss out on World Bank grants

Blantyre, Nkhotakota, Mchinji and Thyolo District Councils have missed out on funds ranging from K21 million to K580 million after failing to meet minimum access conditions.

Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu revealed this on Friday during the disbursement of World Bank’s funded Governance to Enable Service Delivery (GESD) Performance Based Grants (PBGs) to 24 out of 28 district councils in Malawi.

The councils have received a total of MK4.9 Billion with the smallest amount disbursed being K21 million while the highest was about MK580 million.

Mlusu  said that four rural councils have not received the grants due to adverse audit opinions in the Audited Financial Statements for the 2019/2020 Financial Year.

“Blantyre, Nkhotakota, Mchinji and Thyolo District Councils failed to meet the minimum access conditions that would help them receive the funds. This illegibility will negatively affect the people of these districts as the planned development projects approved in their Annual Investment Plan, will not be implemented in this financial year,” said Mlusu.

He told the four district councils that the Performance Improvement Plans, through the project, are ready to support in addressing all the weaknesses and issues in public finance management at their districts so that next year, all districts councils will receive the PBGs to enable service delivery.

The Minister asked Council Controlling Officers to ensure that governance structures are working in full compliance to the dictates of the Public Finance Management Act, the Local Government Act, as well as regulations and circulars issued from time to time.

Speaking during the same function, Deputy Minister of Local Government Halima Daud admitted that all the 28 district councils, including Balaka which was the best performer during 2019/20 Local Authority Performance Assessment (LAPA), have challenges in some areas and her Ministry was ready to assist.

“Nsanje, Mwanza, Likoma, Ntcheu, Ntchisi and Chikwawa are the six poor performing district Councils which need handholding. My officials have developed Performance Improvement Plans jointly with the concerned district councils in order to assist them in their areas of weakness,” she said.

World Bank representative, Michael Roscitt said the bank was excited that the primary expectation of introducing result-based financing was slowly being achieved.

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