A budget-tracking exercise that the Association for the Early Child Development in Malawi (AECDM) conducted last month has revealed that the cashgate has hit the Early Child Development (ECD) subsector badly.
According to the findings of exercise, made available to Weekend Nation, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, which ECD is under, was allocated a development funding K30 million (about $75 000) in the 2013/14 financial year but the funds have not been remitted to the ministry.
The findings also show that ministry expected to receive K54 million (about $135 000) for ECD activities, from the Ministry of Education upon requests, but although the requests were made, the Ministry of Education, through its finance department, is yet to approve the payment.
Asked why the Ministry of Gender has not received the K30 million budget allocations, the Director of Finance, quoted in the findings, explained the need for the Ministry of Gender to write to the Ministry of Finance and clearly request the fund.
ECD national coordinator is quoted in the findings saying: “most ECD activities end up not being done, due to lack of funds. For example, K67 million was budgeted for the review of the National ECD Strategic Plan, which is far more than the allocation that the Ministry gets”.
AECDM executive director Charles Gwengwe said in an interview on Thursday that the findings point to cashgate as the factor behind government’s failure to remit funds to ECD.
He further noted that there is an anomaly in the transfer of funds among various ministries.
“There is need for the government to understand that ECD is a cross sectoral issue which needs to be mainstreamed amongst all ministries,” he said.
He added that the Ministry of Gender needs to come out clear and state their needs to improve the ECD sector by requesting for funds and bringing forward expenditure return to the Ministry of Finance.