The National Local Government Finance Committee (NLGFC) has released K1.7 billion funding to five councils for beneficiary wages of the Productive Public Works Programme (PPWP) under the fourth Malawi Social Action Fund (Masaf 4).
The funds for Rumphi, M’mbelwa, Balaka, Nkhata Bay, Zomba Rural and Mwanza councils, were expected to be accessible in the councils accounts by yesterday.
According to a memo from NLGFC, Rumphi has been given K200 million, Balaka has been allocated K440.8 million, M’mbelwa has been given K375.6 million, Mwanza has been given K69 million, Zomba Rural has received K411 million while Nkhata Bay has received K206 million.
Of the total K 1 703 088 934 released, K1 657 108 800 has gone towards wages for regular PWP, while K45 980 134 is the 50 percent funding that remained on administration.
States the release: “NLGFCC, thus, wishes to remind the councils that payment of beneficiary wages should be prioritised due to the immediate benefits the cash brings for beneficiary households. Further, councils should ensure that liquidation reports should be submitted within two weeks upon the completion of Pay Parades.
“The councils are further advised that the funding has been provided in line with the revised wage rate of K900 per day for 24 days for each beneficiary. Additionally, the remaining 50 percent administration costs has been funded together with this wage component.”
Earlier this month, the Rumphi Residents Association led by chairperson Moir Walita Mkandawire asked the district council to explain the delays in funding.
He described government’s failure to pay the beneficiaries in good time and to achieve the desired goals of the programme as a crisis and a sign that it had failed to implement its own pro-poor policies.
Mkandawire has since hailed government for responding swiftly to their plea, while advising on the need to always act on time before the situation gets out of hand.
In August 2015, the World Bank signed a $75 million (about K5.7 billion) financial agreement with the government to cover the financing gap for project activities under Masaf 4.
This was in addition to a $32 million (about K2.4 billion) funding for the project under a separate financing agreement the two parties signed in 2013.
PPWP, under Masaf 4, targeted 450 000 ultra-poor households with labour capacity on a repeater beneficiary approach in councils.
The nature of works focused on catchment rehabilitation and restoration of natural resources with a long-term objective of restoring soil productivity to boost agriculture and restoring forests thereby reducing the distance women take to fetch firewood.
According to NLGFC, the immediate impact on the households has been the cash from wages, which has been used for smoothening consumption and investment in productive assets. n