Good well Gondwe says

Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe on Monday assured opposition legislatures that there has been a solution to pay teachers arrears and leave grants at a right time.
Gondwe said this in Parliament after opposition legislatures wondered why his ministry is failing to end the teachers strike by paying them their arrears and leave grants, while calling him an incompetent minister.
Salima North-West MP Jessie Kabwila (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) challenged Minister of Education Emmanuel Fabiano to resign if he did not have solutions to the teachers strike which has affected the learing in public primary and secondary school for a week now.
“We havebeen here for weeks yet students at Chancellor College are not in class and oupils are on the streets because teachers are not in class,” said Kabwila who is also an education activist.
Kabwila accused Fabiano of sleeping on the job and sitting on the problems.
However, Gondwe rescued Fabiano when he apologized to the legislatures for the delay and assured then that his ministry has managed to fast track the whole process.
“I am indeed incompetent this year but next year you will call me competent minister because teachers will be enjoying with this process,” said Gondwe.
Adding that “issues of teacher s strike due to arrears and leave grants occurs yearly in the country. This is because of the system that government was using to pay teachers, thus why we have decided to change it. And believe me or not, this problem will be over.”
The system involved transferring of funds from the central government to all district councils.
According to Gondwe, the new system will empower the District Commissioners to decide when and how to pay the teachers in good time.
Gondwe informed the House that Treasury has processed teachers’ leave grants for 21 districts out of 28 and that funds were supposed to be remitted by close of business son Monday.
Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) President Willie Malimba has vowed not go to classes till government address their grivenances..
Meanwhile, learners in public primay schools in Blantyre City, Ntcheu and Balaka took to the streets on Monday to protest against the teachers’ continued strike.
The learners blocked roads, including the M1 Road stretch between Chingeni in Balaka and Bawi in Ntcheu and some wew demanding money from passers-by and motorists apparently to pay the teachers’ leave grants and other outstanding grievances.


High court on Monday heard a lot of economic

The High Court in Lilongwe on Monday heard a lot of economic jargons when the State prosecutors paraded its third witness in the case former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo and other are accused of plunder of public resources at Capital Hill.
Standing in the witness box in the High Court, Daniel Jenya a chief economist working in the Ministry of Finance, who first testified as defence witness number six witness for convict MacDonald Kumwembe in the case of conspiracy to murder Mphwiyo , reappeared testifying exactly what he earlier told the court in the shooting case with few new developments and contradictions.
Jenya’s testimony was more of technical and theory as he took the court in class of economics telling them what inflation is, meeting International Monetary Fund targets, Domestic borrowing, interests rate of both domestic borrowing and international borrowing and its effects to the country
He told the court that in 2013 his ministry started to notice bad trends in the accounting system as government was borrowing excessively.
Jenya said in that financial year alone government had domestic debts grossing K900 billion and K1.6 trillion from foreign debtors by mid0year and its interest rate at K175 billion in total with K171 billion for domestic debts and K4 billion for foreign debts.
He said instead of reducing the stock of domestic borrowing as agreed to meet the target of IMF, by 2nd August, 2013 it increased from K 205 billion to K213 billion with an increase of K8 billion.
“The cost of domestic debt was way higher than the foreign debt,” he told the court, saying the situation was not “an ideal trend” for domestic borrowing.
Jenya and it was at this point that he began to engage with his supervisor Mrs Ketty Msukwa and Director Mr Juwao.
According to Jenya there was an increase again in the second week of August as of 8th August 2014 above the target of K46 billion targets they expected to borrow in three months as one of the condition they were given by the IMF.
When asked by state top prosecutor Mary Machala if he spoke to Mphwiyo about the rise of figures, Jenya told the Court that he never spoke to him and he wasn’t sure as well if his director Mr Juwao or his supervisor who is now deceased Mrs Ketty Msukwa talked to him.
This contradicts what he earlier told the court when he appeared as defence witness number six for Kumwembe as then he told the Court that he reported the matter to his boss who asked Mphwiyo to explain why the expenditures were high for the month of July and August.
Director of Public Prosecution Mary Kachale asked the witness to explain what an ideal trend for domestic borrowing.
He said it is “borrowing as low as possible or not borrowing at all.”
Mphwiyo started refuting the figures which Jenya was giving, claiming that if the figures were indeed high the country should have seen rising inflation.
He said he instructed Jenya to conduct an analysis to find the reasons why inflation was not rising if expenditures were high.
Jenya also disclosed that other notable activities between July and August 2013 was the fact that arrears which were supposed to be spent in the second quarter of the 2013/2014 financial year of K8 billion were all spent in the first quarter of the financial year with over K7 billion spent between July and September 2013 figures which are different from what he told the Court.
Jenya will continue giving testimony on Tuesday.
The state is expected to parade over 30 witnesses to the case which Mphwiyo and 17 others are charged with conspiracy to defraud government, holding property belonging to government, theft, money laundering, fraudulently issuing 24 cheques worth K2.4 billion, abuse of public office and usage of proceeds of crime.
Mphwiyo’s shooting outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on the night of September 13 2013 led to revelations of the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill widely known as Cashgate.
Other suspects include civil servants such as former Accountant General David Kandoje, Auzius Kazombo Mwale, Clemence Mmadzi and Roosevelt Ndovi. The list of suspects also includes contractors.
Others are George Banda, Michael Mphatso, Samuel Mzanda and Maxwell Namata who are facing charges of fraud, negligence by public office, money laundering, theft by public servant, theft by servant and conspiracy to defraud government funds amounting to K2 446 817 450.49.
Former President Joyce Banda ordered a forensic audit undertaken by British firm, RSM ( formerly Baker Tilly), covering the period between April and September 2013. The audit established that about K24 billion was siphoned from the public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.
In May 2015, a financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciled between 2009 and December 31 2014.
However, the K577 billion figure was later revised downwards to K236 billion by another British forensic auditor.

Mutharika has signed

President Peter Mutharika has signed three financial agreements worth 185 million euro (around K150 billion) after holding high-profile bilateral meetings and speaking at the European Development Day’s meeting in Brussels, Belgium.
The three financial agreements are 100 million euro for Kulima Project, 70 million euro for nutrition and 15 million euro for supporting the National Authorising Office at the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.
Mutharika was invited by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission to participate at the opening of a 2-day European Development Days forum which started Wednesday.
The European Development Days (EDD) is Europe’s leading forum on international cooperation and development.
‘Africa viewed negatively’
Mutharika told the policymakers that Africa has always been viewed from a negative point of view, but the reality was that the continent was not poor as it has resources, albeit poverty among its people.
“What we need is a skilled labour force to turn our assets into capital. Although its people are mostly poor, Africa has a lot of resources. Sadly however, part of African poverty is created by global structural imbalances,” said Mutharika.
He urged the European Union to invest in the human capital, if Africa was to develop.
“The case of Africa is very telling. It is important for us to invest in the human capital because much of the African situation results from lack of certain skills and the way we think,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika also said that although the Sub-Saharan Africa receives about 134 billion dollars each year in loans and development aid, it was depressing that about 192 billion dollars is taken out from the region back to the donors through tax evasion, climate change mitigation, and the flight of profits.
“The problem is not that aid is a bad thing. We are not out to demonise financial aid. We know that the Europe we see and admire today is also a consequence of financial aid, delivered under the Marshall Plan. So, it means we can have better aid, which would support our trade and sustainable development. And we thank European Institutions for providing more than 32 percent of all official aid to Africa, with Malawi getting about 2 percent of the European support.”
Economic growth and unemployment
The President pointed out that the challenges facing Africa are bound to haunt Europe “sooner than ever. ”
He said: “The fortunes of Africa are bound to benefit European people and vice versa. Poverty and unemployment in Africa become a migration problem in Europe. This is a problem nearly every European leader has to contend with.
“While you worry about migration, Africa is worried about Youth Unemployment. And here is the correlation. Age is one of the factors that influence migration. Except where there is conflict, it is the Youth who are often driven by the desire to find a better place for themselves in the world.
“Thus, both African and European leaders hold the responsibility to create conditions for economic growth and development in Africa and the world. An economically strong Africa stands to benefit both African and European people.”
During his speech, President Mutharika said although Malawi has set the stage for growth, but it needed the kind of economic growth in which everyone grows, particularly youth and women.
“But we need the kind of economic growth in which everyone grows, particularly youth and women. Investing in women and youth is necessary for inclusive development. As a country, we are ensuring that our vulnerable people, Youth and Women are part of the development agenda,” said Mutharika.
Investing in youth
Mutharika talked of the need to focus on investing in the Youth as a human capital.
“We need skills that enable them to become productive members of their societies. This means we also need a paradigm shift in the education systems in most parts of the developing world. We can no longer educate the Youth with a mindset to be employed by someone,” he said.
The Malawi leader shared with the policymakers a story he said he has told Malawians before.
“This is a story about three people. Their names were Everyone, Someone and Noone. Everyone wanted Someone to employ them; Everyone forgot that there is Noone called Someone; In the end, Noone employed Everyone,” he said.
Mutharika continued: “ To avoid the scenario in this story, we have as a country engaged in a comprehensive skills development programme. We are building community technical colleges across the country in order to equip the Youth with employable and employing skills. This is also one way of creating a skilled labour force that must support the investors who are flocking to Malawi. This is what I would want to see in Africa and the rest of the developing world.”
The President said unless the unemployment problem of the Youth is dealt with, some problems of the developing world will continue to haunt Europe.
“This task is our mutual responsibility,” he said.
Organized since 2006, EDD 2017 promotes a new global strategy to address the most pressing global challenges and bring together development actors committed to tackling poverty worldwide with a particular emphasis on engaging the private sector as a partner in economic development.

Mutharika this Friday

President Peter Mutharika will this Friday address students at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
According to a statement from government, Mutharika has been invited to speak to Oxford students on the Global Access to Education, Youth and Women Empowerment.
However, a list of events published on the university’s website and seen on Monday afternoon does not list Mutharika as one of the speakers at the institution this month.

But speaking at Kamuzu International Airport before leaving on Monday, Mutharika said his address at the reputable university is part of his two-part visit to Europe that will start today in Brussels, Belgium.
In Brussels, Mutharika will hold bilateral talks with President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker before meeting managing director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde.
The Malawi leader will also hold talks with European Union (EU) commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmstrom.
State House director of communications Bright Molande said Mutharika’s trip will “bring back huge fortunes for the people of Malawi.”
He said grants which will be discussed during Mutharika’s trip include the 100 million euros for Lulima Project, 70 million euros for nutrition and 15 million euros for financing the National Authorising Office at the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.
Mutharika is also scheduled to be a speaker at the influential European Development Days meeting.
Meanwhile, Mutharika’s decision to address students at Oxford University while the Chancellor College impasse is yet to be resolved has kicked up a storm.
Writing on Facebook , writer and social commentator Onjezani Kenani wondered if Mutharika is really the Chancellor of the University of Malawi.
“It does not make sense to me, this travel by our president to address Oxford University students on global access to education when Chancellor College remains closed for six months. By the way, is he Chancellor of the University of Malawi for real or it’s just a title? What, exactly, does he do to show that he is Chancellor? Does he provide any leadership at all on matters affecting the direction of the university? Letting his students rot at home, is that leadership?” wrote Kenani.
Chancellor College has been closed for six months now as lecturers at the college are refusing to go to work in order to force government to increase their salaries.

The world bank says

The World Bank says Malawi needs to manage its urbanisation process as this will be critical to the country’s effort to boost resilience, reduce poverty and achieve sustainable growth.
In the fifth edition of the Malawi Economic Monitor (MEM) titled Harnessing the Urban Economy released on June 1, the bank says Malawi is still at an early stage of urbanisation and a slow urbanisation rate will position the country to formulate plans to maximise the benefits of urban agglomeration into the future.
Malawi’s cities getting overcrowded.
It however cautions that a rapid rate of urbanisation might result to poverty unless public resources are allocated to meet investments needs in urban and capable of local government street areas to manage increase d urbanisation rate .
The MEM suggests that a systematic effort should be made to improve revenue of city councils from their own sources with emphasis on tax and better management of resources and services.
It also states that measures such as modernising payments system, reducing packages and updating regulatory provisions should be considered.
The World Bank in the report has also reviewed the latest economic development in the country, estimating GDP growth to increase to 4.4 percent in 2017 driven by improved conditions in the agriculture sector.
According to the analysis, a favourable weather pattern with increased rainfall in this year is expected to result in higher level of agriculture output than in 2015.
It further assumes that with the improvement in agriculture production and reduced pressure on food prices, the average inflation rate will decrease to 15.2% in 2017.
The MEM also acknowledges the government efforts in improving reforms such as agriculture markets and fiscal arrangements containing public debts.

Ccjp donate a bicycle s in karonga

In an attempt to eradicate gender based violence in Karonga district, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) through its primary justice project has donated 100 bicycles to its Community Based Educators (CBEs).
The commission is aiming at easing challenges which come about when it comes to disseminating information to raise awareness Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
The acting district social welfare officer, Atupele Mwalweni saidthat Karonga is one of the districts in the northern region that are marred with cases of GBV emanating from cultural beliefs within families where men dominate.
He added that in some cases women also ill-treat men in various ways leading to different problems.
Mwalweni therefore said with the coming in of the project, expectations are high that such cases are going to decline in various communities because the provision of the bikes that will enable the CBEs to reach out to places where they could not reach in the past.
Speaking after the donation, the project’s officer, Deodatus Muriya urged the recipients of the bikes to use them according to their intended purposes so that they achieve their intended goal.
He further said the project decided to give them the bicycles after realizing that they were walking long distances to reach out to many people in their communities in a fight against the vice.
One of the beneficiaries of the bicycles, Gift Mughogho from the area of traditional authority Wasambo in Chilumba said the bike will simplify her tasks because she is now encouraged to reach out to many people with the message.
Like Mughogho, John Chikundipyola Msiska also thanked CCJP for the support saying that in the past they could board bicycle taxis to visit various communities but now this has become a closed chapter and assured the organisation to expect more change.
First Grade Magistrate Chakaka Nyirenda said primary justice has helped a lot in reduction of cases that are brought before the magistrate court because only civil cases are referred to him unlike misdemeanor ones which are actually resolved at traditional courts by chiefs.
Nyirenda said, “This has really reduced our workload at the court because now we are working hand in hand with traditional leaders with the help of the CCJP through primary justice but we still encourage them to refer serious cases to our courts for justice to prevail.”

One five children born

One in five children born as a twin in sub-Saharan Africa dies before their fifth birthday, according to new research in the Lancet.
The study is the first to analyse death rates among twins in the region.
The report suggests improvements in survival for twins is lagging far behind other children.
The death rate among single-born children aged under-five halved between 1995 and 2014. For twins, the rate came down by a third.
‘Poor fate’
Giving birth to twins is riskier than delivering just one baby – no matter which country a mother delivers in.
There is an increased risk of early delivery, low birth weight and mothers suffering severe blood loss.
But researchers say these risks are “compounded” by higher overall birth rates and poor maternal and newborn care in sub-Saharan Africa, where many mothers give birth at home.
In Finland for example – which has some of the best maternity care in the world – researchers say for every 1,000 twins born, 11 die before their first birthday.
According to the study, the equivalent figure for sub-Saharan Africa is 137 per 1,000 twins who die before they turn one.
And 213 in 1,000 die before their fifth birthday.
How common are twin births around the world?
Sub-Saharan Africa: 18 per 1,000 pregnancies
East Asia and Latin America: six to nine per 1,000 pregnancies
Europe, North America and the Middle East: eight to 16 per 1,000 pregnancies
Researchers are calling for better health services to help these more vulnerable women and children.
Co-author, Prof Christiaan Monden from Oxford University, said: “So far, the poor fate of twins has gone largely unnoticed.”
He said twin pregnancies needed to be detected earlier and mothers should give birth in a hospital with staff trained in twin deliveries.
This should be followed by continued monitoring in the first few days and even months of their lives.
But this is a big ask in some of the poorest countries with some of the weakest health systems in the world.
Families, particularly those living in remote areas, often do not have hospitals anywhere near where they live.
Many cannot afford the transport to get to the nearest maternity facility, let alone pay for the care they need.
Even if they could, facilities such as specialist twin delivery care are few-and-far-between in many developing countries.
Prof Monden added: “It is very easy to say mothers should just give birth in a nice hospital, but that is not a realistic option for many.
“What surprised us when we found the higher death rate among twins is we thought this must be well-known by big UN organisations and that they pay special attention to twins – but this is not the case?”
Co-author, Dr Jeroen Smits, from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, said: “Without special attention to this vulnerable group it will be very difficult to achieve the UN’s sustainable development goal target of fewer than 12 per 1,000 neonatal deaths and fewer than 25 per 1,000 under-five deaths by 2030.”
Numbers behind the study:
The report used data from 1.69 million children born in 30 sub-Saharan African countries between 1995 and 2014.
It included more than 56,000 twins.
16,399 twins died before their fifth birthday.

Dpp has said that

The Democratic Progressive Party has said that limited donor support and natural disasters that had hit the country have been the major challenges the DPP government has faced in the three years it has been in power.
DPP Publicity Secretary Francis Kasaila said that minimal foreign aid due to a combination of several factors including Cashgate and the freezing of donor support, but the party has tried to serve Malawians to its level best.
“From 2014 to 2015 the country experienced dry spell and 2016 we experienced floods that affected many districts of the country. We also lost 40% donor support because of Cashgate. These made economy to struggle and made the two and a half years toughest, but we have managed to serve Malawians without donor support,” said Kasaila.
President Peter Mutharika was sworn in on May 31, 2014 after a disputed poll, and a recent study shows his leadership has failed Malawians on governance, corruption and elections that it would not retain power if polls were held today.
On Tuesday, the AfroBarometre study revealed 88 percent of Malawians think this country is going in the wrong direction under the DPP leadership but government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi dismissed the findings as not being a true reflection of the situation on the ground.
Meanwhile, Kasaila has said that the timing of the survey affected the findings.
“At the time the survey was conducted, November/December, we had serious challenges of electricity, food situation, and therefore people were really angry, not because of the way government is doing its business, but because they were misinformed,” Kasaila said.
When asked to rate performance of the DPP led administration in the three years, political analyst Joseph Chunga said that the Afro-Barometer findings are nothing but a true reflection of Malawi today.
“If you have a country where 88% of its people, regardless of their political affiliations, are saying that their country is going in the wrong directions, for me that is an indication of how people are feeling about the DPP regime three years down the line,” Chunga said.
With less than two years to the next election, the Peter Mutharika administration is hoping things will get better as soon as possible to stand a chance of re-election. Continue reading “Dpp has said that”

MDF soldiers could be probed for corruption

The Department of Forestry in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has disclosed that it is investigating soldiers and forestry officers who are patrolling Viphya plantations over corruption allegations.
The investigation is coming after local media reported that some Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers and forestry officers get bribes from sawyers who cut timber in the forest.
According to a statement released by the ministry, government knows that the media allegations may be true.

“The ministry is aware that there may be shortfalls on the part of some soldiers and forestry officers who are operating in the Plantation in collaboration with the Malawi Defence Force, the Department of Forestry is therefore conducting thorough investigations into the alleged illegal activities and any soldier and forestry officer found guilty will be dealt with accordingly,” reads the statement.
However, the ministry has hailed the soldiers who are patrolling Viphya and other forests and said that the corruption accusations may just be claimed by people who want free access in the forests.
“The Ministry wishes to report satisfaction with the MDF operations in the Viphya and other forests in the country which have greatly assisted to suppress illegal activities and deforestation.
“The ministry is aware of some ill-intended people who would like the Department of Forestry to remove soldiers from the forests in order to have access. The Ministry will not tolerate such intentions,” adds the statement.
Earlier, local media reported that MDF soldiers and forestry officers prevented a patrol team from accessing a certain area where illegal sawing of timber was taking place.
Local media also reported that illegal pit sawyers were cutting timber for soldiers and were giving money to a forestry officer.
As a way of curbing the act of illegal cutting of timber in Malawi’s major tree reserves like Chikangawa and Viphya, government deployed soldiers in such areas to be working hand in hand with the Department of Forestry.

World bank approved K69billion to boat Malawi in agriculture

The World Bank board last week approved K69 Billion ($95 million) to boost Malawi’s agriculture commercialization expected to support 70,000 farmers and 300 producer organizations.
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Farmers like these are li
According to a statement from the Bank, with the $95 million credit for the Agriculture Commercialization Project (AGCOM), Malawi has an opportunity to boost the quality and quantity of various agricultural products for domestic and export markets.
It stated that the project will create a conducive environment for farmers and agro-businesses to operate in, support last-mile infrastructure such as feeder, roads and electricity, agro-business reforms and strengthening the warehouse receipt system in Malawi.
Beneficiaries of the project are various value chain actors, including producers (farmers and farmer producer organizations), buyers (processors, retailers, exporters, and aggregators), and financial institutions that will be lending to the agribusiness sector in the country.
The release which quoted the Bank’s Task Team Leader for AGCOM Valens Mwumvaneza said the funding will ensure that youth and women are well represented in its interventions hence giving national coverage.
“We expect this project to catalyze and strengthen the role of commercial agriculture in turning around Malawi’s economic fortunes.”
“The project will help develop Malawi’s productive base of farm and agribusiness products to foster export competitiveness and economic empowerment.” said Mwumvaneza.
It further pointed out that a major activity of the project is to help establish productive alliances between producer organizations (POs), other value chain actors and product off-takers.
The capacity of the POs and other value chain actors will be built through technical assistance and matching grants to produce the quality and quantity required by the identified off-takers and strengthen the POs to meet market required standards and norms.
AGCOM will also support the creation of business enabling services by improving access to finance, standards and certification, and trade facilitation.
The project, whose funding is from the Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) is expected to close in 2023 and will be implemented under the joint leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.