The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace [CCJP] and Catholic Development Commission [CADECOM] say they are appalled by the numerous challenges that have marred the Affordable Inputs Programme [AIP], strongly asserting that lack of concrete and urgent action to correct the reported and observed deficiencies is a recipe for the programme’s failure and a serious neglect of obligation by the Government.
The CCJP and CADECOM says they have noted with deep concern some of the hitches observed and established such as inadequate access to information by beneficiaries, poor security, system and network failure, poor supply of commodities to rural and remote areas, exclusion of eligible or deserving beneficiaries, delay in distribution of the AIP commodities, reports of beneficiaries sleeping in selling points and theft and corruption by officials serving beneficiaries.
This is contained in a statement signed by Chimwemwe Phiri and Boniface Chibwana, CADECOM and CCJP National Coordinators respectively calling for urgent remedy to AIP implementation hiccups dated 20th November, 2020.
In the statement, the CCJP and CADECOM say the situation has brought panic among farmers with vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities, women and the elderly affected, this has a potential to adversely affect the country’s agricultural output this growing season, saying this is a recipe for food insecurity in Malawi.
CCJP and CADECOM add they are further disturbed by Government’s lukewarm response to the challenges saying it is sad that official actions by Government have been limited to press briefings and cabinet ministers’ visits to selected selling points of AIP inputs in the country.
…”Concrete action is needed now, deep desire for efficiency in public service delivery was one of the critical factors that ushered in the Tonse Government and which unfortunately is not associated with the implementation of the AIP programme,’’….. reads part of the statement.
The two organizations have made recommendations calling for action by the Government that all issues related to network problems should be resolved immediately and the Government should immediately terminate contracts of suppliers that are not adhering to their contractual obligations.
They say Government should provide tight security in all selling points to counter theft, bribery and fraud activities, should scale up the monitoring of all activities and providing deliberate measures devised to specifically assist vulnerable AIP beneficiaries such as breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women, persons with disabilities and the elderly.
They are calling on the Government to provide regular updates on the improved AIP implementation performance in the interest of accountability and transparency on public funds and mediocrity, inefficiency and incompetence should be completely rooted out in our society, especially regarding provision of services which mainly benefit the poorest members of the society.
By Vincent Gunde