The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has demanded President Lazarus Chakwera to present a comprehensive report to Malawians on the progress of the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) and how K188 billion allocated to the program has been used.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said in a astatement that the demand is in line with Section 12 (c) of the country’s Constitution.
“President Chakwera should prove us wrong by giving the AIP status report within the next 48 hours, detailing how funds Parliament set aside for the 2022/23 AIP have been spent so far,” said Namiwa.
According to Namiwa, following numerous complaints on how current government is implementing the 2022/23 AIP, CDEDI conducted investigations and established that the only available fertilizer in Malawi is from development partners under the banner of African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP).
This includes the 10,000 metric tonnes of MAP fertiliser (Phosphate component) the Kingdom of Morocco donated, and it was blended to 52,000 tonnes.
“As we report, none of the 2.5 million 2022/23 AIP beneficiaries has redeemed any fertiliser bought using the K188 billion approved by Parliament. Yet, much of the maize crop in the fields has gone past time for receiving NPK, and we only have 14 days before the recommended time to apply Urea elapses,” reads the statement.
Namiwa further claims that the Chakwera-led government is yet to buy a bag of fertilizer using the funds approved by Parliament.
The current arrangement and another hope for Malawians is that AFAP is set to provide fertilizer to 1 040,000 beneficiaries.
“AFAP is working towards giving one 50-kilogramme bag of NPK each to 1,040,000 beneficiaries from the 2022/23 AIP earmarked 2.5 million beneficiaries.
“To the rescue of Malawi government, it has been established that AFAP is also footing the cost of blending the donated fertilizer, which is taking place in Liwonde, Machinga, including the transportation,” said Namiwa in the statement.
He has since demanded Chakwera to provide a status report regarding AIP.
“We wish to emphasise that failure to act as demanded above will be understood as a further deliberate war against the poor; and that will leave us with no option but to mobilise farming communities to hold vigils at the offices of all district commissioners, starting from January 9, 2023, as one way of defending themselves from the impending war waged by President Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance administration,” said Namiwa.
He has also demanded Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale to step down for creating “a lie” about AIP transportation crisis, forgetting that AIP funds Parliament allocated already included transportation.
According to Namiwa, the purported transportation challenges mentioned by Kawale were an example of level of lack of seriousness on part of leadership.
“In a serious issue like AIP knowing that Malawi is an agro based economy, it is uncalled for to employ amateur public relations (PR) stunt to hoodwink Malawians into believing that there are stockpiles of ready fertilizer somewhere in the country. Yet the fertiliser AIP beneficiaries are redeeming is coming straight from the blending plant at Liwonde, and it is being loaded hot onto waiting trucks,” he reveals.
He has further revealed that in all its undertakings, government is just seeking cheap political mileage.
For instance, Namiwa points out that the call by government for vehicles from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) was a ploy for someone to be seen caring and doing something about the AIP situation with the hope of earning cheap political mileage from the unsuspecting public.
“By the way, who can sympathise with government on this outright case of poor planning? After all, when the Budget was being passed in April, contracts had already been awarded to transporters. We wonder what has become of those contracts? But we will not be surprised to hear that some transporters are claiming damages for breach of contract,” he said.
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