LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Malawi Government through Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, on Wednesday launched the much awaited Program Support Document (PSD) to enhance efforts towards improving quality of livelihoods for all Malawians.

The PSD, runs from 2017 to 2022, and aims harmonize all the ministry policy documents, reviews, and studies recently conducted, is to accelerate inclusive local governance and participatory democracy for effective social and economic development.

The 5-year development document, is estimated at MK206 billion (US$268 million) that Government has demonstrated commitment to ensure sustainable rural development in the country.

Speaking after launching the document in the capital Lilongwe, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa, stated that the document will strengthen capacity building for institutions and organizations and also enhance and improve resource mobilization and management by local councils.

Nankhumwa noted that despite several efforts by the Ministry to create an enabling environment for deepening decentralization, that includes legal instruments, reconstitution of local authorities, and election of councilors, problems still exist that obstruct effective service delivery in local authorities.

The Minister added that PSD has prioritized critical issues in decentralization, local governance and local development. He said the Ministry has developed a set of activities geared towards investments in improving the wellbeing of Malawians, in both rural and urban areas.

“This is an implementation document for actualizing Integrated Rural Development (IRD) and deepening the decentralization agenda in Malawi for effective service delivery at council level and acceleration of socio-economic development at community level. I am aware that despite the country having a decentralization policy and Local Government Act since 1998, we still have to do more in the implementation of IRD and decentralization programs.

“It is Government’s deliberate effort to develop rural areas because that is where the majority, almost 86 percent of Malawians lives. Malawians are expecting rapid transformation of their areas as a result of the IRD and Decentralization programs,” said Nankhumwa.

In his remarks, Irish Charge d ’Affairs to Malawi Michael Treacy, said his Government is supporting Malawi in strengthening institutional and organizational capacity of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and councils through the project.

Treacy disclosed that his Government will contribute five million Euros towards the implementation of the document.