The CCAP Synod of Livingstonia has asked government to rescind the decision to disburse K5 billion to Admarc to buy pigeon peas (nandolo) from farmers and, instead, use the money to buy medical drugs, hospital equipment and to pay health workers.
Synod general secretary, Reverend Levi Nyondo, made the call on Thursday when the synod’s College of Health Sciences held a graduation for 162 students at Ekwendeni in Mzimba.
He said the K5 billion would help to alleviate problems facing the health sector, further advising Capital Hill to learn to set its priorities right.
“Health issues should be a priority. So, I don’t support the idea of buying pigeon peas. That money can help a lot in solving problems facing the health sector,” said Nyondo.
He also urged government to ensure that it employs nurses and other medical professionals, noting that many of them are getting wasted when there is acute shortage of medical personnel in the country’s health facilities.
Ministry of Health and Population Services director of nursing and midwifery services Tulipoka Soko said it is the wish of government to ensure that more health workers are employed, but funds do not permit.
She, however, said the ministry is in touch with Treasury to ensure that it resolves the matter.
Soko said the ministry will also try to investigate delays in payment of health workers, yet government has been issuing their money on time.
The Nandolo Farmers Association of Malawi (Nfam), a grouping of nandolo (pigeon peas) farmers, last month called for suspension of the crop’s buying.
In a letter, dated September 17 2018, addressed to principal secretaries (PSs) for ministries of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and Industry, Trade and Tourism and Admarc chief executive officer, Nfam chairperson Susan Chimbayo said the immediate buying of the crop by Admarc, with no proper strategies to protect the farmers, is disastrous.
But Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe responded that Admarc will pay back the K5 billion from Unforeseen Expenditure Vote for the purchase of produce, including pigeon peas, from farmers.