Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa today launched a Programme Support Document (PSD) with optimism that it will enhance efforts towards improving quality of livelihoods for all Malawians.
Nankhumwa said the major objective of the document, which harmonises all the ministry policy documents, reviews and studies conducted recently, is to accelerate inclusive local governance and participatory democracy for effective social and economic development.
He further stated that the document will strengthen capacity building for institutions and organisations and also enhance and improve resource mobilisation and management by local councils.
He said: “This is an implementation document for actualising Integrated Rural Development (IRD) and deepening the decentralisation agenda in the country for effective service delivery at council level and acceleration of socioeconomic development at community level. I am aware that despite the country having a decentralisation policy and Local Government Act since 1998, we still have to do more in the implementation of IRD and decentralisation programmes.”
Nankhumwa noted that despite several efforts by the ministry to create an enabling environment for deepening decentralization that include legal instruments, reconstitution of local authorities and election of councilors, problems still exist that obstruct effective service delivery in local authorities.
He therefore expressed hope that PSD, which will be implemented in five years from 2017 to 2022 with an estimated budget of K 206 billion or US$268 million dollars, demonstrates yet another commitment by the government to ensure sustainable rural development in the country.
“It is government deliberate effort to develop rural areas because that is where the majority, almost 86 percent of Malawians live. Malawians are expecting rapid transformation of their areas as a result of the IRD and Decentralisation programmes,” he explained.
He added that PSD has prioritised critical issues in decentralisation, local governance and local development and has come up with set of activities geared towards investments in improving the wellbeing of Malawians, in both rural and urban areas.
Speaking at the launch, Irish charge d’affaires to Malawi Michael Treacy said his country is supporting Malawi in strengthening institutional and organisational capacity of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and councils through the project.