Malawi President Joyce Banda on Monday expressed shock and displeasure at the extent of damage to maize at the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) silos in Lilongwe as Malawi crossed the border last week to source the staple grain from Zambia.
About 30 000 metric tonnes of maize is damaged at the silos when the country faces a shortage of the grain on the local market. The maize was reportedly soaked with rain water following leakage of the storage facilities.
Speaking at a news conference held at Kamuzu Palace in the capital, Lilongwe, the President said she got a report about the maize damage and she was surprised with the extent of the damage.
While there is reportedly some maize in stock at NFRA Mzuzu silos, the commodity cannot move allegedly due to logistical problems as thousands spend nights at premises of the State produce trader, the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
The President, who returned from a tour of the United Kingdom, Botswana and the United States of America on Monday, said she sourced a total of K37 billion (about $92.5m) worth of aid which will be injected in the economy to help in HIV and Aids fight and school feeding programmes, among other interventions.
On her government’s commitment to holding tripartite elections, Banda said she was briefed by the Electoral Commission before she left the country that preparations are on track.
Commenting on government’s decision to buy K1.6 billion (about $4m) ministerial vehicles as austerity measures bite social services hard, Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga, answering on behalf of the President, said the expenditure was already budgeted for in the Office of the President and Cabinet.
He further stated that not all ministers will get the top of the range Toyota Prado TX vehicles which cost about K46 million each at Toyota Malawi, adding that ministers would now have only one vehicle.