Govt faulted for buying fertilizer at over K106,000 per 50Kg bag

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The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has questioned differences in prices of fertilizer for the 2022/23 Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP), saying government intends to pay some suppliers K24,000 per 50Kg bag and others  K106,000 per 50Kg.

According to a notification of intention to award the AIP contracts dated 24 October, 2022, Crack Hardware and General Dealers is set to be awarded 2,345.31 tonnes with a total amount pegged at MK5,017,963,000, an equivalent of MK2, 139,573.44 per tonne which is equal to MK106,978.67 per 50-kilogram bag.

Namiwa

Another company, Chipala Investments will be awarded a total tonnage of 4,934.80 with a total contract value of MK4,720,171,852.50.  This means MK956,507.22 per tonne and Chipala Investments is charging Malawians   MK47,825.36 for every 50-kilogram bag of fertilizer.

Another supplier, Kidoti Holdings Limited will be awarded   4,527.15 tonnes amounting to MK3, 590,025,985.00. This translates to MK792, 999.12 per tonne, which is equal to MK39,649.95 per 50-kilogram bag of fertilizer.

In a letter addressed to Agriculture Minister Sam Kawale, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa wondered as to why government is paying different prices for the same 50kg bag of fertilizer, and as high as MWK100 thousand.

“It is very clear that entities that have nothing to do with fertilizer business have been awarded contracts according to the said communication. A closer look at the list has revealed that some of the companies and individuals that have been awarded these contracts are Malawi Congress Party (MCP) sponsors and sympathizers,” says Namiwa.

He has described this as a sign of organised crimes within Malawi government, saying it is very clear that some people sat down and organized themselves to loot public funds.

CDEDI has since demanded that the Minister of Agriculture make a public statement to declare the cancellation of the contracts as well as informing Malawians about individuals who sat down and planned to share their taxes in the above setup.

“And that in the event of any lawsuits emanating from the cancellation of these botched up contracts, then those who connived to steal the taxpayers’ money should be held personally liable for their actions or inactions,” he said.

He has since cautioned the Agriculture Minister to tread carefully considering that the AIP borders on the life-line of the poor of the poorest.

“Therefore, every move you take in this area will not go unnoticed let alone unchecked, since it is an open secret that at play is the taxpayer’s money,” he says.

CDEDI has given seven days to Minister Kawale to respond or face unspecified action.

Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale has confirmed to the local media that his ministry has received the letter. He added that the ministry will release a statement on the issue.

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