The Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has expressed disappointment and concern that government is not coming forward with an explanation on how proceeds from the crude oil Malawi received from Nigeria were used.
A statement issued by Cama on Wednesday says government has not responded to its inquiries on the matter which were made through a letter that was hand-delivered to the Office of President and Cabinet dated January 7 2014.
“We were promised by government through OPC that a response would be provided within three days by its spokesperson Mr [Arthur] Chipenda, [but ] despite several attempts and reminders, government has not provided any details regarding the issue,” reads part of the statement.
Chipenda did not pick his mobile phone yesterday, but Information and Civic Education Minister Brown Mpinganjira said he had no idea about the issue and referred Weekend Nation to Energy Minister Ibrahim Matola.
Matola said he needed to see the Cama statement first before responding to media enquiries on the matter. He also advised the Weekend Nation to speak to OPC.
Chipenda is on record to have said in January this year that OPC was ready to provide information on the matter if given enough time.
Cama said in the statement information on how the crude oil resources were remitted and used remain a top secret for reasons better known to government when the oil deal was done publicly.
Reads the statement: “Malawians have a right to know how the crude oil money was used and whether that crude oil arrangement agreement is still in force between the Malawi and Nigeria.
“Malawians would want to know how much money was realised from the sale of the crude oil and which sectors of the economy benefited from the proceeds of the crude oil and which ministry was responsible in receipting funds from the crude oil.”
The statement, signed by Cama executive director John Kapito, said considering that the OPC has decided not to provide any information, the Ministry of Finance must respond and provide answers.
“These are matters that government has always said the public can demand information from its ministries and departments and that information would be provided.
“It is now two months since we wrote government and we now have decided to make a public appeal to demand the same information as indicated in our letter and we expect Ministry of Finance to respond through this public request…We are, therefore, once again through this press release requesting government to make such information available as soon as possible before the public begin to make its own conclusions.”
Malawi and Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding last year in which the Nigerian government, through its president Goodluck Jonathan, promised to donate and supply the country with crude oil to alleviate the economic challenges the country was experiencing at that time.