President Peter Mutharika has disclosed that a follow up meeting where government will provide finer details on anti-Cashgate efforts to persuade the European Union (EU) to release budgetary support to Malawi has been slated for October 10, 2014 in the United States of America (USA).
Mutharika told The Nation in an interview in New York on Sunday that Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and Reserve Bank Governor, Charles Chuka, will represent Malawi at the meeting to take place in the USA capital, Washington D.C.
This meeting follows earlier contact on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week between Mutharika and the EU commissioner for development, Adris Piebalgs, who hinted that his organisation wants to resume its budgetary support to Malawi as quickly as possible as long as Lilongwe addresses their concerns.
“The meeting with the EU will be held here in the USA. Our minister of Finance and the Governor of the Reserve Bank will represent us. They will provide detailed information about the amount of work that we have done to address the concerns that made donors suspend their support,” said Mutharika.
The President said he hoped that after getting the detailed account the EU will be swayed to change their position.
After the meeting last week, Piebalgs, a Latvian politician and diplomat, said he had agreed with Mutharika to have a follow up meeting over considerations for resumption of aid to Malawi.
“During that meeting, issues pertaining to Cashgate and resumption of budgetary support will be discussed in detail,” said Piebalgs.
“As EU we want to return to Malawi with budgetary support and we hope to resolve the issues as a quickly as possible.
The EU and other donors suspended budgetary support to Malawi as a consequence of Cashgate, coined after the Watergate scandal in the USA in 1971, after the near killing of former budget director Mutharika insisted that his government has addressed the donors concerns and he did not see why they should not consider returning.
“We believe we have met their conditions and we think they need to reconsider their position,” said Mutharika, expressing willingness to do more should the donors clarify on what remains to be done.
According to Mutharika, his administration has addressed the concern regarding the need to cut back on public spending and using state resources prudently.
“We believe we have scored well on this one because not only has wastefulness been eliminated, but resources are being spent wisely and prudently,” said Mutharika.
He added that government is also dealing with Cashgate issues resolutely, by expanding the circle of criminal investigations and prosecutions, shifting around personnel and increasing resources in law enforcement agencies and accountability institutions.
“We have made our case that we only inherited this problem and we should not be punished as if we are the ones who caused it. We have done everything that a responsible government should do and we have the hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.