Days after The Nation revealed massive irregularities that have rocked the 2014/15 Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) we also divulge that donors have written government, demanding explanations on several issues around the scheme’s management.

In a letter dated October 17 2014 addressed to the former secretary to the Treasury Newby Kumwembe and copied to secretary to the Treasury-designate Ronald Mangani, principal secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Erica Maganga and other senior government officials in the ministries of Finance and Agriculture, country manager for Malawi Africa Region, Luara Kullenberg, representing the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF), is demanding urgent information regarding the total estimated costs of the 2014/15 Fisp.

Government announced this year that it will discontinue the Fertiliser Input Loan Programme (Filp) due to lack of funds and Kullenberg, in her letter, has further asked government to also include in the costs the transferred fertiliser.

More especially, we understand that government is transferring to this year’s Fisp, the fertiliser acquired last year under Filp. The exact costs of the fertiliser is, therefore, indispensable to estimate the overall costs of the Fisp fertiliser component and to give us clear indications of the potential sources of savings, if any, in other components of the Fisp, that could cover the seed budget gap, reads the letter.

This year’s Fisp estimated to cost K50 billion from last year’s K60 billion is already marred by high logistical hiccups, including transportation and distribution delays.

Asked to comment on the donors’ demands, Mangani referred the matter to the ministry’s spokesperson Nations Msowoya, who was not immediately available.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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