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PAC urges Nkhatabay District Council invest in tourism, agriculture

By Lovemore Khomo

Bottomani: They have made commitments

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has urged Nkhatabay District Council to invest in tourism and agriculture to help the council generate more revenues.

PAC chairperson Mark Bottomani was speaking during an oversight meeting on Wednesday at Parliament Building in Lilongwe where he said these two sectors have potential to grow both the district and country economy.

Bottomani challenged the lake shore council that it should intensively look at ways and means of trying to advance sectors of tourism and agriculture in order for them to generate more revenues and change peoples’ lives.

“They have made commitments, but they might really write them down as a guiding document, because actual implementation is crucial,” said Bottomani.

On both revenue collection and misallocation of funds, PAC chairperson expressed dissatisfaction with the way the council has mishandled it, and advised them to improve because they are entitled to safely keep tax payer’s resources for important public use.

He, however, said committee was impressed with road map Nkhatabay District Council has taken, and advised them and other Council’s stop bringing excuses that shall longer be tolerated with regards to public funds expenditure.

Meanwhile, Nkhatabay District Commissioner Rodgers Newa in his response on tourism and agriculture investments said the council lacks guidance from Ministry Tourism on policies that can support the growth of tourism sector in the district.

On the other hand, Newa explained that they have encouraged local operators on transport around Lake Malawi, specifically on Likoma and Nkhatabay route and also up north in Karonga.

“We have some investors that are running some boats and ships. But also encourage other investors to do more on lodges and hotels for accommodation to make environment conducive for both tourists and locals to generate income,” said Newa.

On misallocations of funds, Nkhatabay District Commissioner admitted the errors and promised to improve by operating within Public Finance Management Act and ensure that their expenditure is in accordance with budget lines.

He adds: “This scenario occurred because of inadequate and incapacity of the staff. We are working with Local Government Finance Committee to ensure we have adequate staff in the council and follow the lines.”

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