Oxfam has called for transparency and accountability in the manner COVID-19 resources are utilised a day after Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera appealed for support from donors and well wishers.
President Chakwera made the plea yesterday amid a rapid surge in infections – with local transmissions gaining traction.
Oxfam Country Director in Malawi Lingalireni Mihowa has observed that there must be stringent measures to ensure resources acquired are put to the intended use.
She stressed the need to strengthen systems for checks and balances to ensure the resources mobilized are used for the intended purpose
“The country needs to learn from the past mistakes as noted in the ombudsman’s misplaced priorities report that reveals gross abuse of resources and mal-administration in the implementation of Malawi national COVID19 preparedness and response plan and including the K6.2 Billion that was released by the Reserve Bank of Malawi last year.
“Given the dire situation we find ourselves in now and as a best governance practice, we expect the government machinery and all concerned stakeholders to put in place measures that will ensure that there is transparency and accountability of every tambala and any resources that will be mobilized, ” she said.
Mihowa added that abuse of public resources committed towards response to COVID19 is immoral as it denies ordinary and poor Malawians of the much essential services in times like these.
The Ombudsman’s report notes that 79.8% of the total funding secured last year was spent on Coordination Cluster allowances instead of essential needs.
According to the Oxfam boss, the funding would have been used in rehabilitation of key health facilities to meet the basic required standards to handle the pandemic or procurement of personal protective equipment that would have gone a long way in strengthening the country’s preparedness response which would have helped us to manage the surging cases.
She has challenged duty bearers to be responsible, accountable and transparent in managing resources flowing following the president’s appeal.
She says the president’s declaration of State of National Disaster is timely considering the rate at which new cases and the increasing number of deaths being reported.
Lately, the country has been recording an increase in COVID19 infections and deaths.
Early this week, two cabinet ministers died of COVID-19 related illness among many others.