Supplementary memorandum from the Department for International Development

Questions 113-114 (Mr Davidson): DFID's work to develop the capacity of trade unions in Malawi and other areas of civil society?

  DFID Malawi supports the development of capacity amongst civil society organisations in Malawi, such as international and local charities, trade unions and other non-urban/ less educated groups including those working directly with communities at local level and faith-based groups. This support includes policy discussions and information sharing—for example with the unions that represent teachers or nurses on their concerns and priorities—as well as funding for specific purposes. For example:

    — £450,000 (2008 to 2011) to Plan International to work with local communities to help them track how well essential services like health and education are being delivered. This programme covers the entire country. — £100,000 to the main NGO co-ordination body in Malawi (CONGOMA—Council for Non Governmental Organizations in Malawi) to improve its corporate governance (including financial management and reporting) and to provide management skills.

    — £1.4 million over six years to 27 local community NGOs to develop their capacity to address gender issues.

    — £2.3 million over three years to support local NGOs including the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace who are working with communities to strengthen traditional dispute resolution mechanisms in villages. This programme aims to ensure much better access to effective, equitable justice for over 5 million poor people, including women and children. It has a particular focus on promoting human rights.

  We are discussing with the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) whether they might apply in future for funding from DFID for their strategic plan. At present, they are well-funded by others.

Questions 120-122 (Chairman): Examples of where DFID has identified GoM not using money wisely

  DFID Malawi supports a range of analyses and provides technical support with the explicit intention of identifying how the Government can use its resources more effectively and efficiently. Below are some examples of findings from these analyses and actions taken in response.

    — In education, a DFID funded Public Expenditure Tracking Survey in 2008 found evidence of around 14% leakage of notebooks. The Government has addressed this by tightening warehouse management. The same survey found evidence of leakage of teachers' salaries of between 5% and 28% depending on the District. To tackle this, the Government is now paying teachers directly through the banking system, rather than through local officials (one of the benefits of this switch is that it avoids the need for officials to carry large amounts of cash around the country). We have asked the Government to re-run similar surveys in the future, to allow us to track how far things have improved.

    — A Payroll Audit and review of the HR database was carried out at the request of DFID and other budget support donors in 2008. This revealed 700 "ghost teachers" (about 3.5%). These individuals have now been removed from the education payroll.

    — A health procurement audit in 2007 found miss-procurement (irregularities of some kind, often paperwork or processes not completed correctly) in 53% of procurements, representing 3% of the total value. As a result of this audit and supported by technical assistance provided by DFID, overall procurement performance has improved significantly. The latest procurement audit (just received) indicates no major miss-procurements in 2008-09 and the number of health entities rated as high risk fell from 28% to 3%.

    — A DFID-funded Public Expenditure Review in the health sector found scope for substantial reductions in inefficiency and leakage by reforming the Central Medical Stores. This will also deliver substantial cost savings from bulk procurement. The Government has developed a new electronic drug tracking system to reduce the risk of leakage in drugs and reduce the frequency of drug stock-outs. The most recent survey (2009) found leakage of drugs and medical supplies to be "almost non existent", with no discrepancies between what facilities requested and what was actually received from central medical stores at District level.

    — A study by donors of the way that Government allocates resources to Districts revealed that the current formula agreed by Parliament in 2002 is heavily weighted towards population rather than other, more sophisticated, measures of development need. The Ministry of Local Government has since developed a better set of formulae that should be presented to the Cabinet and Parliament soon.

    — Following concerns raised by development partners on how much Government funding is allocated to internal and external travel, the Government has now agreed to conduct a public expenditure review of travel and transport which should lead to greater efficiency in use of Government expenditure.

Questions 125-127 (Chairman): How much the Government of Malawi spends on the Kamuzu Academy

  The Kamuzu Academy is financed by school fees. Government expenditure on the Academy is all in the form of bursaries for individual students, covering both tuition and accommodation costs. In FY 2008-09 188 students received these bursaries (approximately one-third of the total number of students in Kamuzu Academy) costing government Kwacha 222 million (approx £1 million). The remaining students paid full fees themselves.

Selection into public secondary schools is determined almost entirely on the basis of how well students score on the Malawi School Certificate Examination. Until last year, the top boy and the top girl in each District were awarded government bursaries to Kamuzu Academy, before all other students were allocated places at other public secondary schools.

  The Ministry of Education has recently decided to increase the focus on bursaries for orphans and other vulnerable children, and is reviewing the balance of bursaries for Kamuzu Academy and other schools. At this point, the Ministry is not awarding any new bursaries for Kamuzu Academy.

17 December 2009

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