President Dr Lazarus Chakwera says his government will from this year implement reforms to the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) to avoid a myriad of logistical challenges encountered this year.
Dr Chakwera among other things said he has directed that all procurement processes should be completed on time and fertilizer should be in the custody of Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi by June.
The Malawi leader was speaking at Parliament when he tackled questions from Members of Parliament.
Tuesday, 28 February 2023 will go down in the history of Malawi’s democracy as another memorable day when President Dr Lazarus Chakwera appeared in Parliament to answer questions.
Five questions were lined up and a minimum of three supplementary to each question.
Tackling the question of what his administration is doing to avert a repeat of logistical challenges on AIP as encountered this year, Dr Chakwera said several reforms to the AIP are in the offing to make it more effective and beneficial to Malawians.
The President said he wants by June, all procurement processes finalised and fertiliser should be in the custody of the Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) a directive which attracted applause from both sides of the House. He further said his administration can not substitute AIP with Mega farms saying the concept of Mega farms is addressing food security and the country’s export needs, while AIP is aimed at providing inputs to the less privileged to achieve food security at the household level.
Addressing the question of what his government is doing to ensure that the fight against corruption is not lost, Dr Chakwera outlined several interventions his government is pursuing including lifestyle audits to ensure people live only within their means. He also mentioned the intent to review the primary school curriculum to inculcate integrity among young ones and he emphasised strengthening prosecuting teams at ACB.
He said the newly established Financial Crimes Court has been empowered with 3 judges. Also responding on whether he is ready to reduce his powers on the appointment of ACB Director, Dr Chakwera said it is not a matter of Presidential decree but it involves changing the laws of the land.
The Malawi leader also tackled a question on mega-farms which is deemed by many economic experts as crucial in producing export crops, Dr Chakwera disclosed that his government has secured thousands of hectares to kickstart production. He also said the private sector has joined the drive for export farming.
The President then told Parliament that youth are not excluded in the mega-farms initiative to make Malawi a self-reliant economy through exports.
In his response to the construction of an International Airport in Mangochi which is one of the country’s tourism hubs, Dr Chakwera assured Parliament and the nation that plans are still there and the government is engaging donors and the private sector for possible financing.
He said the project will commence once, rehabilitation works on Chileka and Mzuzu airports are over.
In summary, he reiterated in Parliament that his administration is committed to completing all projects initiated by the previous administration because Malawi is one.
By appearing in Parliament more than twice to tackle questions from legislators, President Chakwera becomes the only one in recent years who has fulfilled the constitutional requirement for a Head of State to appear in Parliament because others deliberately shunned facing legislators in Parliament.
Reported by Isaac Jali, MBC Online Services.