Parliamentary Committee faults Agriculture Ministry

The Agriculture and Irrigation Committee of Parliament has decried being sidelined by the Ministry of Agriculture in its policy formulation.

The Committee`s Chairperson Sammer Suleman has cited the recent launching of the National Fertiliser Policy, saying his committee was not consulted on the processes involved.

“The Ministry has to know that when formulating polices they have to involve the legal experts, and part of the legal experts are us Members of Parliament (MPs) because whatever they formulate comes to us before we pass it,” he said.

Suleman added that the tendency of putting aside his parliamentary committee has serious consequences when it comes to formulation and implementations of such policies and laws.

“This habit of sidelining MPs when formulating these laws becomes a problem because they will bring us the policies and the bills at an eleventh hour and expect us to scrutinize it and pass it in the chamber, it becomes difficult, most of times we are passing laws that are not benefiting Malawians.

“So, we were advising them that they should be inviting to be part of the process so that if there is some input to come from us it should be done right there and there by the time it comes to Parliament out input is already there,” he said.

But Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Erica Maganga said the ministry always engages various stakeholders when rolling out its activities including the responsible Agriculture and Irrigation Committee of the August House.

“I think they issue is that the policy started the way back and consultations were done with various stakeholders and during the launch of the policy we had invited the Chairperson and his vice to the event.

“But the issue that has been raised is that we should have another session meeting with the whole committee to just take them through the policy so that they also have a good understanding of the policy,” she said.

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