The series of stories that Nation Publications Limited (NPL) newspapers run recently were depressing. The poor villager—the ultimate beneficiary of the various local development financing mechanisms—has been kicked out of the equation both in terms of participatory planning, budgeting and execution. Members of Parliaments (MPs) and Council Secretariat officials are doing pretty much whatever takes…

So, Malawi’s share of trade in the 19-member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has slumped to 1.9 percent this year from the previous year’s 2.8 percent. What is more? The trade gap with the grouping has widened from $12 million in 2015 to $126.6 million last year—that is more than 10 times…

George Chaponda—the embattled vice-president of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for the Southern Region—will be 75 on November 1 this year. I doubt it will be much of a birthday party. With the crowd of corruption and abuse of office-related allegations hovering over his head, the sacked Agriculture Minister will have little to celebrate…

During my time at Treasury and the Local Development Fund (LDF), I worked with councils—whether at town, municipality, city or district levels. Like every public body corporate, they have a lot of challenges, some very serious. They also have some really bad apples whose work ethics and organisation culture really stink. Their disregard of laid…

The Peter Mutharika administration has gone out of its way to tell anyone willing to listen that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime is committed to improving public finance management across the public sector in Malawi. Treasury—through Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe and his secretaries to the Treasury—has consistently claimed that it…

The Peter Mutharika administration has gone out of its way to tell anyone willing to listen that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime is committed to improving public finance management across the public sector in Malawi. Treasury—through Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe and his secretaries to the Treasury—has consistently claimed that it…

The Anti-Corruption Bureau’s (ACB) arrest on Wednesday of George Chaponda—the former Agriculture Minister and some say still powerful vice-president (Southern Region) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)—must have sent the party of President Peter Mutharika into disarray. Even the President’s agenda—whatever it is or what is left of it—is being distracted by the drama…

The World Bank Group—under Kim Yong Kim—is reshaping itself. Based on a speech he made at the prestigious London School of Economics back in April this year, Kim clearly thinks that there is too much money—in trillions actually—that is just lying around because private investors are too afraid to risk it in what could be…

Not long ago, an audit into the construction of school blocks in Lilongwe City under the Local Development Fund (LDF) found that Lilongwe City Council (LCC) lost about K41 million through fraud under the basket funding arrangement for local development. Since then and before this incident, several councils found themselves in the news for all…

I have looked at the legal and regulatory requirements governing large-scale infrastructure projects in Malawi and elsewhere. I have also tried to get a rudimentary understanding of international best practices, international treaties and conventions to which we as a country are signatories. I have scanned through the Environmental Management Act of 1996—the mother of the…

That Malawi needs more women representation in decision-making positions is a no-brainer. Women constitute the majority of the country’s population yet men dominate most of the influential positions be it in traditional authority leadership, public service, private sector and political institutions, including parties and Parliament itself. For years, there have been efforts to support increased…

You might think that Malawi’s dualistic agriculture sector—made up of two sub-sectors; namely smallholder and estates—is all about maize. You could be forgiven. Studies show that Malawi’s per capita maize consumption stands at 133kg. The staple grain accounts for 54 percent of the caloric consumption by Malawian households. In a distant third position is cassava,…

That Malawi needs more women representation in decision-making positions is a no-brainer. Women constitute the majority of the country’s population yet men dominate most of the influential positions be it in traditional authority leadership, public service, private sector and political institutions, including parties and Parliament itself. For years, there have been efforts to support increased…

It was an open secret. As Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), Charles Chuka was not a ‘cultural fit’ in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration’s idea of an economic policy mix. And that is not just because he was a Joyce Banda appointee. Chuka was too much to the right of the…

A few weeks ago, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission that came to assess Malawi’s economic programme signalled that the country’s economic situation is in a much better shape than in several years. Indeed, there are a lot of indications showing that something positive is happening in the economy—and must be acknowledged. The barometer of…