Community participation in budget tracking and monitoring is essential in ensuring transparency and accountability among duty bearers and permanent reform in the country, European Union (EU) head of Section for Economics, Governance and Trade in Malawi Jose Medina Navarro has said.
Navarro was speaking in Phalombe on Wednesday where he led an EU delegation in a monitoring visit to an EU funded project ‘Enhancing citizen participation in budget tracking and monitoring for equitable and sustainable development in Malawi’.
The 555 thousand Euros (about K380 million) project, is being implemented by Action Aid in four districts of Nsanje, Phalombe, Mchinji and Rumphi for a period of three years.
Navarro expressed satisfaction with how resources are being managed in the project and how communities have been empowered to demand transparency and accountability on financial resources meant for public development in the district.
“I am very impressed with the impact the project is having on the communities, here in Malawi, we assist in three key sectors of governance, agriculture and education and we prioritise on governance knowing that without proper governance those other sectors can’t progress,” added Navarro.
He however called on the district secretariat and all stakeholders involved to make sure communities are familiar with both the national budget and the funds allocated to the district for easy tracking.
Action Aid head of programs and policy Peter Pangani hailed the good collaboration between stakeholders involved adding that the visit by the EU delegation would help add value to the implementation of the project.
However, Phalombe District Commissioner Harry Phiri said more is needed to be done in reaching out to people at the grassroots with information regarding finance management at council level.
“We normally have meetings with Councillors, Area Development Committee representatives, Chiefs and members of Parliament.
Together we draft our annual budget, we also make available all information regarding how much we have received from the central government or from donors and plan together on how to spend the funds, we expect these stakeholders to help us in reaching out to people at the grassroots,” he explained.
Traditional Authority Kaduya hailed the project describing it as an eye opener to the people.
“At first we used to be spectators, projects stalled and we had no power to question those involved, but since the launch of this project in June last year, we have taken full responsibility and many development projects are now being completed,” said Kaduya.