LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The much awaited Disaster Risk Management Bill (DRM) is set to be tabled in Malawi Parliament for enactment.
This comes barely days after a group of young people in the climate change and environment sector on Monday, April 3, 2023 petitioned Malawi Parliament to urgently table and enact the bill before the end of the first meeting of the 50th session
In the petition youth people are demanding legislators to waive all standing orders to ensure the bill is passed and that unless discussion is on the bill.
Youths dared lawmakers not proceed in conducting any business without tackling the bill.
But Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda has said all is set for the tabling of DRM bill which has gained prominence due to Tropical Cyclone Freddy-induced catastrophe.
Chimwendo disclosed that copies of the Disaster Risk Management Bill, No 9 of 2023, circulated among members of Parliament Thursday, April 6, 2023.
“We are expected to table and discuss the bill next week, Wednesday, April 12, 2023,” assures Chimwendo Banda .
Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources Chairperson Werani Chilenga also confirmed of receiving copies of the bill.
“I can also confirm that the bill has many provisions, some of which pertain to the establishment of the National Disaster Risk Management Committee, which is going to be chaired by the Secretary to the President and Cabinet, principal secretaries from key ministries, Malawi Human Rights Commission, disaster risk management experts, Malawi Red Cross Society and two civil society organisation members,” Chilenga said.
In the proposed bill, the government will be mandated to declare certain areas high-risk areas and relocate all people occupying such places as determined by the commissioner and responsible minister, who will work in consultation with the Ministry of Lands.
The bill has also proposed the establishment of the Office of the Commissioner for Disasters and a Disaster Risk Management Trust Fund.
“Anyone collecting relief items on behalf of disaster victims will have to report to the Office of the Commissioner of Disasters, disclose the source and account for every item/ funds administered by themselves,” the bill reads.
The bill has proposed fines, ranging from MK10 million to MK20 million or jail terms of between two and three years, for those found guilty of giving out false information to obtain relief items as well as diverting or selling relief items.
Just after Cyclone Freddy’s devastating effects last month, President Lazarus Chakwera said the government was ready to take the bill to Parliament before it rises.
If passed into law, the bill would replace the Disaster Relief Preparedness Act of 1991.