The media has been urged to take an interest in public procurement processes to ensure that they understand open contracting procedures for transparency and accountability in public expenditure.
This was highlighted in Blantyre during a two-day media training in Open Contracting organised by Open Contracting-Multi Stakeholder Group, and sponsored by Hivos Malawi.
Speaking at the close of the training on Tuesday, Hivos Malawi country engagement developer June Kambalametore said a lot of money is lost through corruption and various forms of abuse in public procurement.
She, therefore, urged the media to familiarise itself with procedures in open contracting, to help equip the masses with the necessary information, and empower them to track such processes in their respective areas.
“About 70 percent of the national budget goes towards procurement, however, a lot of money is lost to corruption.
“We expect the media to create that awareness on procurement and do more of investigative journalism to ensure checks and balances,” said Kambalametore.
One of the facilitators Joel Ching’ani, vice-chairperson for OC-MSG concurred with Kambalametore saying public procurement is vulnerable to wastefulness, mismanagement and fraud.
He said:” Open contracting is about leaving the entire contracting process more open and transparent, it is an approach to improving public expenditure and deal with flows in public procurement.
“The media need to follow the entire procurement process, participate and use public data to follow and interpret issues around contracting in public institutions.”
Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) corruption investigative officer for the eastern region Sam Kambani said to report effectively on corruption involving contracting, the media need to understand procurement processes and who to approach to get the information they require.