Blantyre,: Integrity Platform (IP) on Friday trained journalists from Blantyre media houses on monitoring public finance management with the aim of enhancing their role in promoting accountability and transparency of public resources.
Speaking at Ryalls Hotel during the training, National Coordinator at Integrity Platform, Jeff Kabondo, said IP believed that close collaboration with the media would help expand and strengthen its leverage towards carrying out effective advocacy on public resources governance.
In Malawi, public audit reporting is an area that the public does not have interest in, yet they are the tax payers.
From 2012 to 2016, Malawi did not have an audit report as a country. We had a back log of about four to five years, meaning that nobody really knew how public funds had been spent over that period, said Kabondo.
He said that meant nobody could be held accountable for something that happened many years ago.
We ask ourselves, where were we? This is an area that needs a lot of interest from stakeholders such as civil society and the media.
We would want to see the efforts that government puts [in place] to avoid a repeat of the back log, he said.
Director at Granger and Associates, Hilton Msamali who made a presentation on Public Audit Reporting said in public finance management, the public is a shareholder.
Shareholders, who are all citizens of Malawi, do not know that they are, in fact, the shareholder and have the right to know how their finances are being run, said Msamali.
He, therefore, urged journalists to bridge this gap by empowering members of the public on their responsibility and the power they have to hold those responsible to be accountable.
Integrity Platform is a recently formed civil society anti-corruption initiative in Malawi whose secretariat is presently hosted by African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC).
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA