The National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust executive director Ollen Mwalubunju says they may close their operations in the country next January if government does not finance their operations.
Speaking in Lilongwe yesterday when he and officials from his organisation appeared before the joint budget cluster Committee on Industry, Trade and Tourism and Media, Information and Communications, Mwalubunju said the trust needs K128 million for its operations.
He said the institution has already laid off 36 staff whose contracts were not renewed due to funding constraints, representing a 51 percent downsizing as only 34 remain.
Said Mwalubunju: “Our plea is that the committee should engage Treasury to bring to light the situation Nice Trust is in. The trust needs K128 million to stand on its feet.
“The current funding contract with the European Union [EU] ends in January 2022 and the K128 million give us a breathing space between February and March in consonant with the 2021/22 financial year.”
He said Nice Trust is banking on the intervention of the committee and Parliament in general because its efforts to lobby for funding through its parent Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity as well as Treasury have not been successful.
The executive director said Malawi needs Nice Trust more because the Malawi 2063 Visionl requires massive civic education for its success as a civic-educated citizenry will embrace its implementation.
Mwalubunju said they have a resource mobilisation strategy ready for implementation to enable the trust become self-sustaining in the long-run.
In his remarks, committee chairperson McNice Aboo Naliwa expressed concern with the organisation’s situation and committed to report to Parliament for Treasury’s funding consideration.
He said : “We take the Nice Trust issue seriously. We will report to Parliament to seek answers from the responsible minister. Nice Trust is an organisation mandated by law; hence, we will not allow it to collapse.”
In the 2020/21 National Budget, Nice Trust was allocated K750 million but has only received K510 million, representing 85 percent disbursement.
Nice Trust was established in 1999 and operated as a government project with bilateral support from the EU until 2010. In 2012, it became a permanent public registered organisation.