Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima has described the church as government’s critical partner in implementation of socio-economic programmes in the country.
He was speaking Saturday in Karonga during the launch of a new office complex for Karonga Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.
Chilima noted that the church has been demonstrating strong commitment in uplifting people’s livelihoods through provision of various services such as education and health.
He commended Karonga Diocese for working hard to put up the new office complex which he described as magnificent.
“This is a true spirit of financial independence and self-reliance which is in line with the Malawi 2063, our national development blueprint,” he said.
Outlining the diocese’s background, Father Josephy Sikwese said the diocese has registered remarkable growth in a number of areas since its inception in 2010.
He said the diocese had 70 catholic primary schools at the beginning and the figure has risen to 83 while number of catholic boarding secondary schools has increased from two to five, adding that four of them are national secondary schools.
In the area of health, Sikwese said Karonga Diocese had three catholic hospitals when it was starting and currently the number of such facilities has grown to six.
Sikwese also said that the diocese has invested in a rice milling and packaging company and has opened Chipunga Farm in Nkhata Bay and Rumphi where they are growing coffee, macadamia and bananas.
Bishop for the diocese, Rt. Rev. Martin Mtumbuka acknowledged and presented tokens of appreciation to various individuals who contributed to the diocese in various ways when it was just created and struggling to stand on its feet and they include Vice President Chilima, former Vice President Khumbo Kachale, Goodall Gondwe, Ralph Kasambara and Paramount Chief Kyungu