Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe
Malawi Government has come under fire over its plans to spend K1 billion on construction of a camping facility for retired civil servants who spend days in Lilongwe waiting for their benefits at the Ministry of Finance.
Critics says Government should focus on ensuring that pensioners are not made to wait in order to access their money.
Nation Publication reported on Sunday that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs included the project in the 2022 Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) which lists projects to be implemented by government in the next five years.
“The project aims at constructing a working room for pensioners at Capital Hill to provide a humane environment for pensioners and beneficiaries of deceased estates when the Pensions Unit is processing their duties,” the PSIP document reads.
Government intended to start the project in January this year but lack of funds means that the project remains in the pipeline.
However, critics have argued that Government should have spent the money on initiatives that would ensure that pensioners get their money without hassles.
Social commentator Idris Ali Nassah tweeted: “In Malawi, retired civil servants spend days moving from office to office following up on their pension. To fix the problem, the govt has plans to spend US$1 million on a “state-of-the-art” waiting room to give the frustrated pensioners “dignity” as they wait to be assisted.”
In Malawi, retired civil servants spend days moving from office to office following up on their pension.
To fix the problem, the govt has plans to spend US$1 million on a "state-of-the-art" waiting room to give the frustrated pensioners "dignity" as they wait to be assisted. pic.twitter.com/nxpZ7Pyf96
— Idriss A. Nassah (@mynassah) September 27, 2022
Commenters on the tweet said government could digitize the process or let pensioners process the funds through government offices close to where they live.
“Digitize!, streamline, make it easy and effective. That money more than enough to digitise the whole process,” one Twitter user said.
Another commenter said: “This government seems to have run out of ideas. The person works for government for over 20 years. When it comes to retirement, the employee is expected to travel all the way to Lilongwe. Why? What are regional offices for? Where’s decentralization?”
Speaking to the Nation, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs spokesperson Taurai Banda said lack of a pensioners’ pavilion at the Pension Unit affects pensioners as they are waiting for the processing of the pensions and benefits.
“There is, therefore, a need to provide a humane environment for pensioners and beneficiaries of deceased estates when the Pensions Unit is processing their duties,” Banda said.
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