CoST Malawi has added its voice to calls from the Open Contracting Multi-Stakeholder Group (OC-MSG) for the establishment of a high-level, multi-stakeholder committee to maintain transparency and accountability during COVID-19. The OC-MSG is comprised of a number of Malawian civil-society organisations (CSOs) campaigning for higher standards in open contracting, including CoST Malawi, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation and the Malawi Economic Justice Network.
The OC-MSG is calling for members of government, civil society, private sector, media and faith-based organisations to work together through a multi-stakeholder committee, ensuring COVID-19 funds respond to the needs of the most vulnerable across society. The group is also calling for the release of detailed information in respect to public procurement at an institutional, district, regional and national level. The fast-paced nature of decision making and procurement, coupled with increased government spending, has created fertile ground for the spread of corruption and financial mismanagement during COVID-19. As highlighted by CoST, greater mechanisms for transparency are crucial to ensuring government responses to the crisis are well-managed, and avoid the pitfalls which arose during Hurricane Katrina and the Ebola outbreak.
Commenting on the value of multi-stakeholder working during Malawi’s COVID-19 response, CoST Malawi Programme Manager Lyford Gideon, said:
‘’Taking a multi-stakeholder, collective approach will allow stakeholders from across society to help find and offer solutions to our common challenges during COVID-19. Such a platform will amplify stakeholders’ voices and ensure the government response remains accountable. It would be in everybody’s interest if the government heeds this advice from the OC-MSG, and we will follow their response accordingly.’’