Malawi: Govt Finally Releases Independence Day Celebrations' Expenditure Report

Government has finally released a report detailing the breakdown of the expenditure for the 57th Independence Celebrations held at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

Civil rights activists have been piling pressure on the government to give an account of the expenditure.

In the report, which Marjorie Shema has signed on behalf of the Secretary to the President and Cabinet, the government says the total expenditure for the celebrations was MK87, 086, 097.50 of which MK14, 401, 083.00 was paid to Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and MK203, 062.00 was paid to Tourism Fund.

"The public may recall that the celebrations were initially planned for the three (3) administrative regions of the country with the main event in Lilongwe and then in Blantyre for the Southern Region and in Mzuzu for the Northern Region. Owing to this earlier arrangement, the total budget for holding the celebrations in the three regions was MK243 million. In light of this, Treasury disbursed MK200 million to the Office of the President and Cabinet through an FDH bank account under the name Chief Secretary to the Government.

"When His Excellency the President issued the directive to scale down the celebrations to only the main event in Lilongwe due to the upsurge in the registered Covid-19 cases in the country, the Organizing Committee reduced the budget for the event to MK50 million. At this point, however, preparatory activities for the regional events in Blantyre and Mzuzu had already commenced. As a result, the final expenditure amounted to MK87, 086,097.50," reads the report.

Shema says currently, the Office of the President and Cabinet is in the process of returning the MK112, 913,902.50 remaining balance out of the MK200 million that was disbursed by the Treasury. For further details, a report which provides a breakdown of the expenditure is attached.

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