In an attempt to address concerns over low gains derived from deals Malawi government strikes with various contractors and international organisations, Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has formed the Government Contracts Negotiating Unit (GCNU), Weekend Nation has learnt.
The formation of the unit comes at the time government has heightened its interest to develop investments in the countryâ€™s mineral resources, including oil after a major controversial venture in uranium mining at Kayelekera in Karonga more than three years ago.
According to a latest circular from Chief Secretary to the OPC Bright Msaka, the unit comprises experts from fields, including engineering, economics, law and accounting.
“The unit is responsible for reviewing, considering, vetting, negotiating and passing contractual proposals before they are concluded and agreed between the Malawi Government and other parties and stakeholders.
“The mandate of the Government Contracts Negotiating Unit (GCNU) shall include all contracts, including construction, provision or supply of goods and services, concessions, and all such agreements that place an obligation on the Malawi Government or have an impact on the resources and endowment of Malawi,” reads Msakaâ€™s circular in part.
The circular orders all government ministries, departments, parastatals and State bodies to engage the GCNU whenever they intend to enter into a contract, concession, agreement and any major procurement agreement with local or foreign entities.
“This requirement is intended to ensure value for money for the contracts and procurements, and that such arrangements are in the interest of Malawi government and benefit the people of Malawi,” adds Msaka.
He says government shall only commit itself to financing and implementing any contracts after they have been “thoroughly” vetted, scrutinised and certified as “reasonable, advantageous and having value for money, by the GCNU.”
Recently, there has been controversy over some government deals including the Kayelekera uranium investment with some quarters saying it was poorly negotiated.