International non-governmental organisations have come under the microscope for failing to account for the financial resources they receive from development partners and other donors.
This comes amidst revelations that out of the two hundred and eight international NGOs working in Malawi, less than 50 have registered with the NGO board to submit their annual financial reports.
Director of economic planning in the Ministry of Finance Adwell Zembere has stressed on the need for the NGOs to report to the NGO board as a way of ensuring that duplication in funding development is reduced.
Zembere noted that lack of coordination in the implementation of development projects leads to sometimes overfunding certain development activities whilst other areas are denied of the much needed resources for development.
Weighing in his views, Malawi Economic Justice Network executive director Dalitso Kubalasa stressed on the need for the international organisations to be transparent, adding that there is no need for the NGOs to hide any information because they are working on behalf of the government to serve the citizens.
The International NGOs are believed to be the main channel of financial inflows from outside the country, where estimates put them at over two billion dollars, an amount of money which is way beyond what government gets either from taxes or official development assistance.
The NGOs are also facing public scrutiny for failing to show the impact of their activities on the ground despite being the number one recipient of development aid
Understaffing has hit hard the Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in the capital city Lilongwe.
This hassled to facility failing to admit the estimated number of patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and High Dependency Unit (HDU) due to having insufficient nurses.
The hospital with support from the Norwegian Church Aid and other stakeholders has new ICU and theatres but is failing to utilise the facility.
According to KCH’s Director Jonathan Ngoma, the hospital currently has about 300 nurses but needs at least 200 additional nurses to meet the demand which is far from being reached.
Ngoma said unlike the commercial capital, Blantyre where there are numerous private hospitals there are few in Lilongwe and this leaves people in the central region with very little to choose from when seeking medical attention.
“Lilongwe being the capital city, all the diplomats are based here, and the only big health facility is Kamuzu Central, where even the top government officials and people from the international community will end up seeking help here,” Ngoma said.
It is at this very facility where the former president Bingu wa Mutharika was rushed to and suspected to have breathed his last.
Focusing on the ICU and the HDU alone, where state of the art were provided for by some development partners among them Norwegian Church Aid , it has been observed that the facilities are not being utilised to the maximum due to lack of human resource to make use of it rendering lives at risk.
“You find that we increased ICU and HDU which is able to take 10 patients but as of now, it is taking only four which means a lot of beds are usually empty and I can even anticipate with the new theatre under construction that we might even have shortage of theatre nurses,” added Ngoma.
Meanwhile Malawi Secretary for Health Dan Namarika said government is this year recruiting some health workers.
“Last year the ministry of Health recruited about 1,000 health workers, in about two weeks through Global fund money we will be recruiting about 300, by the end of the year we will be able to recruit another one thousand.”
Ironically it is reported that there are more Malawian nurses working outside the country than within, which KCH director Jonathan Ngoma believes there are many facts that can be attributed to this including remunerations.
There have been growing calls from members of the civil society and parliamentary Health committee on hospital autonomy to allow the facilities recruit staff.
Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism has disclosed that the third Investment Forum will take place between the 11th and 12th of June this year in Lilongwe.
The third Investment Forum will be held after a similar event was suspended last year for failing to produce tangible results over the past three years.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Henry Musa however believes the annual Investment Forum has proven to be an effective strategy of marketing Malawi’s Investment potential
“I am happy to report that the MIF has proved to be a very important platform to market the investment and trade opportunities that Malawi has.”
“The MIF is a market place where opportunities and marketed, partnerships are made and most importantly business deals are sealed for various investment and trade ventures,” the minister said.
Musa also took time to highlight some achievements made in the first and second investment forums, citing the Lilongwe China Grand Business Park, the development of an international bus terminal by Mtalimanja Holdings, as well as the proposed construction of the Liquid Petroleum gas LPG, as well as production of gas cylinders by Smart Resources – a company based in Dubai.
The Minister however fell short of quantifying the in monetary terms the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) so far generated by such investments.
On this years’ target, Malawi Investment Trade Centre Chief Executive Officer Clement Kumbemba says the government has set a target of raking in $3 billion in investment pledges.
The Investment Forum is expected to attract 400 foreign investors from various countries across the globe.
Local companies will also take time to sell their projects to prospective financiers.Malawi Investment Forum is President Peter Mutharika’s brain child, He initiated the meetings in 2015 as a way of attracting foreign investors to come and create jobs as well as boost the country’s exports
Findings by environmental experts have revealed that political interference is the main reason for the depletion of urban green space in the Malawi.
Cities are said to be centres of social and economic development resulting in challenges on how to manage their growth to ensure human well-being is prioritised.
The research findings were disseminated at a stakeholders meeting that was held in Lilongwe to determine why cities have lost the greenspaces and measures that could help in restoring the lost canopy cover.
Greenspace infrastructure refers to landscapes, green plants in peoples surrounding including those around the rivers and conserved plain spaces in towns and cities.
It is believed that the phenomenon has led to the country experiencing high temperatures that have had negative effects resulting to heavy rains, floods and environmental degradation.
Following the meeting, a research support group composed of officials and experts from the public, private and statutory institutions was constituted to help in providing guidance on the same.
According to the co-principle investigator who is also the team leader from LUANAR, Associate Professor David Nkwambisi, indicated that the intention is for the research findings to be taken and applied by stakeholders to support sustainable use and management of urban greenspaces.
He observes that the government needs to be cautious when allocating different plots of land to investors as political and corrupt trends have adversely contributed to the problem.
“Lack of proper procedures, planning and consultations are a key issue in Malawi when it comes to allocation of land especially to those planning huge investment
As Universities, we have to work with stakeholders in effective ways so that together we can design, implement, monitor and share results and lessons with those who make decisions and who are affected by those decisions,” said Nkwambisi.
Meanwhile, Spokesperson for the department of environmental affairs and under the ministry of energy and mining Sangwani Phiri admits the problem is real and has had huge impact on human life.
He cites urbanisation, industrialisation and population boom as the main reasons for the loss of green canopy in cities and towns.
However he reveals his department is working on the issue to ensure that cities and towns are back to their normal being and provide people with the much needed cooling effects.
He highlights: “As a ministry we are working tirelessly with all the city and town councils to ensure that we restore all the lost cover
and very soon you will see change.”
During the meeting, participants noted that urban greenspaces in Cities have been destroyed resulting in loss of biodiversity, increased temperatures and floods that have affected all groups of urban dwellers.
The stakeholders meeting was organised by the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural resources LUANAR in collaboration with the University of Leeds of the United Kingdom under the governments Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
Malawian Filmmaker Flora Suya is promising a great production in her upcoming movie, titled Dear Pen Pal.
The film will be premiered this month in Lilongwe and Blantyre.
Suya, who has been in the industry for over a decade and started her career with Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre in 2004.
She came up with the idea of the romance film after being inspired by the uniqueness of some couples.
The new movie is about Pen Pals called Prisca and Steve. They agree not to exchange pictures as a measure of making their first meeting exciting.
However things do not go as planned and this changes both of their lives forever.
When the meeting day finally comes, Ian, envious of Steven’s profound love for Prisca, deceives Prisca into believing that he is Steve. They end up having sex. The sexual encounter leads into pregnancy.
Suya’s last movie, My Mother’s Story won an Achievement for a Feature Narrative award at Silicon Valley African Film Festival in the United States of America.
Apart from movie making, Suya also produsces and directs, television series Spouses and Workmates.
She is among the few female filmmakers in the country who have made a name for themselves locally and internationally.