Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has postponed the official opening of its newly built Mzuzu Branch, which was scheduled for November 21 as part of the bank’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Sources said President Peter Mutharika, who was set to officially open the branch, has a tight schedule that cannot accommodate opening of the branch.
However, RBM’s golden jubilee celebrations will proceed as planned on November 21.
The source said RBM has also pended transfers of staff posted to the Northern Region branch and were supposed to report for duties in October.
In an interview last week, RBM spokesperson Mbane Ngwira said the central bank’s management was still discussing with government on the dates of the inauguration.
On the staff postings, he said they will only be effected after work is completed.
Said Ngwira: “We cannot post staff to start operations in Mzuzu when some facilities are not even completed.”
However, he said the central bank will start operating “very soon” ahead of the official opening.
“Operations may start a few days from now. What you have to know is that starting of operations is different from official opening. What has been cancelled is just the official opening,” Ngwira said.
He said the contractor working on the building already handed it over to the bank and what remained were other works yet to be finalised.
Added Ngwira: “Other systems have not yet been handed over to the bank, but everything is on track.”
In December last year, The Nation revealed in an award-winning investigative story that the RBM Mzuzu Branch project was hit by problems, including disagreements among stakeholders, prompting the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) to initiate a probe.
RBM has its headquarters in Lilongwe and a branch in Blantyre, the commercial capital. The Mzuzu Branch will be the central bank’s second branch. n