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Centre for Social Concern challenges citizens to participate in public finance management

A recent study by the Centre for Social Concern on citizen’s participation in public finance management has revealed that despite having many laws governing public finance management, public officials deliberately continue to ignore them and implement unnecessary expenditures.

The report presented on Wednesday in Lilongwe, further shows that public officials and politicians make it hard for citizens to take part in public finance management.

As citizens are being challenged to actively engage with politicians and public officials in management of public funds, officials from the Center for Social Concern believe revelations made will be a wake-up call for the civic education ministry to make the masses aware of their roles.

Director for the centre, James Ngahy, points out that laws are available for coordination of projects under public funds but require updating and awareness among Malawians.

“Interviews in the research show that quiet a lot of people are not aware of some legislations and as a way forward, we need to engage stakeholders to meet the people on the ground and let them know of the available legislative documents to assist them stand on their own,” added Ngahy.

The centre, which is a research arm of the Roman Catholic Church in Malawi, further hopes Malawians will be empowered through activities it is doing, prompting duty bearers to be accountable and transparent.

Commenting on his part, minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Mtambo, stressed that his ministry is geared to take such relevant messages to people.

Mtambo pointed out that findings from the research are not new and his ministry has already embarked on several projects that are intended at empowering Malawians to demand participation in developments within their communities.

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“Citizens must take interest to take interest to understand what our laws and policies say about how we are supposed to manage public finances as the government has already committed to ensure that we strengthen public transparency and accountability,” Mtambo highlighted.

The report on a research of citizen participation in public finance management as funded by the GIZ, has further recommended that developmental projects must not be politicized especially when public funds are involved.

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