Nov 23, 2017 Last Updated 1:22 PM, Nov 22, 2017

RBF Program Extended

The Results Based Financing for Maternal and Neonatal Health (RBF4MNH) program has been extended to April next year.

This has been disclosed by representatives of the program.

Initially, the five year program was supposed to wind up in December 2017 after it started in 2012.

Speaking to Capital FM, the Programs Deputy Director reveals money amounting to MK1.7 billion has been set aside for various activities before the program phases out.

Reagan Kaluluma disclosed MK1 billion will be channeled towards infrastructure development in all the four impact districts.

"The remaining MK700 million will go towards conditional cash transfer to benefiting expectant women as well cash bonuses to health workers," Kaluluma explained.

The program is being implemented in 33 health facilities in Ntcheu, Dedza, Mchinji and Balaka.

It is aimed at contributing to the reduction of maternal and neonatal deaths in the impact districts.

This is so through provision of incentives inform of cash bonus to staff as well conditional cash transfer to expectant women in a bid to increase hospital deliveries.

Further, the program also procures medical equipment besides infrastructure development to benefiting health facilities in a bid to improve quality health care services.

Malawi government under Ministry of Health is implementing the maternal health program with financial support from Germany and Norway governments.

Malawi Imports Slump

Imports into the country are said to have gone down evidenced by low import tax recorded by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).

Imports have for a long time been the country’s major trade problem affecting the economy.

Malawi continues to have a wide trade deficit with exports remaining lower than what enters the country’s borders.

Speaking to Capital FM Tax Authorities say during this time of the year imports tend to shift towards agriculture hence minimising the overall import goods.

This has seen import tax, especially VAT going down.

The same has been seen in Import Duty which has also missed its MK7.6 Billion target, as only MK6.9 Billion has been realised due to a drop in dutiable goods.

But Director of Corporate Affairs for the MRA Steve Kapoloma tells Capital FM that they are optimistic of meeting the expected targets as the financial year progresses.

Meanwhile, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry has requested for a revision of some important Acts governing export of goods.

These include control of goods Act and Special crop Act.

The decision has been arrived at following complaints that the ban on Maize export was lifted too late when farmers had already fetched low prices for the grain.

According to Karl Chokhotho, President for the MCCCI, revision of the Acts will go a long way in ensuring that farmers are selling their commodities at a fair price.

The top exports of Malawi are Raw Tobacco ($702M), Dried Legumes  ($111M), Raw Sugar ($85.4M),Tea ($73M) and Raw Cotton ($25.6M).

The top export destinations of Malawi are Belgium-Luxembourg ($159M), Germany ($147M), India ($101M), South Africa ($75.2M) and the United States ($72.3M).

The top import origins are South Africa ($449M), China ($309M), India($238M), the United Arab Emirates ($236M) and Zambia ($119M).

Malawi’s Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe says plans are under way for Capital Hill to start processing payments of ex-Malawi Young Pioneer (MYP) members.

Gondwe said this Tuesday in Parliament while responding to a query made by Member of Parliament for Lilongwe-Msozi South Dzoole Mwale as to what the Ministry was doing to ensure that ex-MYP Members were paid their dues.

“So far 492 members have given us their documentations and we are in the process of paying their gratuity as well as their pension.

What we have done is to calculate their pensions as they would have been in 1994 and then use inflation to increase them (pensions) according to what we do with other civil servants,” he said.

He further disclosed that expenses will be made by the National Audit Office in accordance with the Public Audit Act and only be approved to members who posses valid documentations.

“We have decided that ex-MYP members will receive their terminal benefits if they were in service on 2nd May 1994 as explained in the Appeal Act and if they have valid documentation and letters of appointment to prove that they were employed in the organization,” Gondwe said.

So far, 18 ex-Malawi Young Pioneers have received their terminal benefits.

However, there are over a thousand ex-members who have claimed for their pensions but currently 492 have met the required conditions.

Who Were The MYP Officers?

The Malawi Young Pioneers were the paramilitary wing of the Malawi Congress Party. Their Commander in Chief was President Hastings Kamuzu Banda. 

They originally were supposed to function as a national youth service program with a development agenda.

However over time, they strayed away from this agenda and became an intricate network of espionage and terror.

The Young Pioneers were a major instrument for the operationalisation of Dr Banda's one party state dictatorship and domestic terrorism.

The war of words between President Peter Mutharika and leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera has pushed critics to call for sanity between the two.

Mutharika and Chakwera have been making statements hitting at each other through public forums.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has gone flat out to attack leader of opposition, Lazarus Chakwera.

Apart from other party figures, the Malawi leader has also on several occasions hit at Chakwera, who is also the president of Malawi Congress Party.

Over the weekend Mutharika accused Chakwera on the tone he used when he responded to the State of the National Address.

Ironically, on several occasions including the SONA, Mutharika has preached about unity, peace and love in the country.

During the SONA Mutharika highlighted that both the government and opposition political parties are only serving Malawians who they represent in parliament.

Chakwera on the other hand has also made remarks that showed that he as the leader of opposition is not impressed with how the government is tackling issues affecting Malawians.

He has labelled Mutharika as a failed president.

For instance during the parliamentary deliberations, Chakwera accused Mutharika for failing to curb corruption within his government.

Chakwera further cited issues of the not following their manifesto which outlines how the DPP led government will respond to various challenges the country is facing.

All this is coming towards the road TO 2019 elections.

Critics however believe that this tendency is childish.

In an interview with Capital FM, a Chancellor College Political analyst, Ernest Thindwa says this unhealthy relationship has negative impact on the development of the country.

While National Coordinator Forum for National Development Fryson Chodzi concurs with him.

According to Chodzi, the two leaders should work on developing the country and putting an end to the challenges Malawians are coming across on a daily basis.

At the end of the day Malawians are waiting to see both the government and opposition political parties work together for the development of the country.

The Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) has offered to improve the living standards of vulnerable women and youths in Karonga district.

According to the organisation’s Right to Food Project Officer, Tunsume Mweyibasa, a good number of women in the district especially in the area of Traditional Authority Kilupula are victims of backward cultural practices.

These hinder them from accessing land especially when they get divorced by their husbands or widowed resulting to food insecurity.

Mweyibasa said through the goat-pass extension project, about 50 families in T/A Kilupula and 50 others in T/A Mwirang’ombe will receive five goats each which they will be passing on to other families as they multiply.

“This is to ensure that women are able to sustain their lives without relying much on men and we believe that these goats will help them address some of their challenges socially and economically,” she explained.

Mweyibasa further said the project expects to reach out to 700 plus people with the goats and since it is a pass-on project, it will be done in three phases until all the targeted groups benefit from the same.

“Women and youths are targeted in this project because they are considered vulnerable groups in the society in terms of access to social services,” she added.

Apart from that, the EAM is training them in village saving loans and conservative agriculture in partnership with the agriculture office and empowering them to form cooperatives while on the other hand giving them resources to support their interface meetings.

The EAM is implementing this three year project with financial support from Danish Church Aid.

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