MALAWI | Ombudsman engages media on AIP investigations

The Office of the Ombudsman on 21 February 2024, organized an engagement meeting with media in Malawi to give them an update on systemic investigations it has been doing for the past two years into the implementation of the Affordable Input Program (AIP), whose report will soon be released.

The AIP is an arrangement that allows Malawian subsistence farmers to purchase farm inputs at a subsidized cost with the government paying over 70% of the cost.

Speaking after she presented the findings of the two-year investigations to the journalists, Ombudsman Grace Malera said her office considers media as a strategic partner in fostering issues of transparency and holding duty bearers accountable.

She stated that during the investigation the Office of the Ombudsman used lens of Maladministration to look at other issues of responsiveness and compliance of laws, procedures and policies in the implementation of the AIP.

A cost-benefit analysis she said was done in order to provide decision makers with important insights on the future of the program.

“Our findings indicate that there is generally good political will towards the program, further to its programming.  Beyond that however we are highlighting that there are issues of Maladministration that are detracting the overall objective of the Programme,” Malera explained.

According to the Honorable Ombudsman the Systemic Investigation of her Office lays bare cases of corruption, abuse of office, unethical conduct by stakeholders and cases of fraud that marred the implementation of the AIP.

She lamented that the programme continues to cost tax payers billions, such that she recommends its remodeling or rethinking its effectiveness in the short-term ahead of an exit strategy for the long term.

“The cost-benefit analysis is necessary, when one looks that over K100 billion was spent in the 2022/2023 season for instance on the programme and the same is the case for 2023/2024 season, you want to start thinking about other agriculture programs that could be more efficient and effective. What does a holistic agricultural programing look like?”  Honorable Malera quizzed.

Speaking separately Minister of Agriculture in Malawi Sam Kawale said government is ready to act on the Ombudsman’s recommendations upon receipt of the full report.


Source: The Office of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Malawi

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