Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has said the county’s economy will rebound stronger and reform from Cashgate just like some neighbouring countries which experienced bigger economic challenges compared to Malawi.
Cashgate is the systematic looting of billions of kwacha in public funds through collaboration between businesses and government officials.
Currently, some government officials and businessperson are in prison and others are answering various charges relating to the looting of public funds.
Said Gondwe: “From Cashgate, we can reform and be stronger just like our neighbours who experienced economic challenges. There is need to change the mindset as regards our value for money because everybody is looking for money, but we don’t want to work hard for it.
“As Malawians, we are not mindful of how important money is and how it can be raised.”
The minister was speaking during the opening of an Economic Symposium commemorating 50th anniversary of Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) in Lilongwe on Monday.
Gondwe pleaded with Malawians to be patient and persevere during tough economic times, saying Malawi is not worse off than Tanzania and Zambia when they were facing similar financial challenges in the past.
Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) president Henry Kachaje, in an interview on the sidelines of the symposium, agreed with Gondwe that lessons should be learnt from mistakes made that led to Cashgate.
He commended the minister for his boldness, but said more needs to be done to stop a recurrence of theft of public money, observing that it is a deep-rooted in government system.
“My view extends beyond Cashgate because we are only concentrating on K24 billion ($40,843,800), but it is believed that 30 percent of resources allocated to our budget gets stolen every year.
Also speaking separately, University of Malawi’s Chancellor College economics professor Ben Kaluwa called for a sober reflection at individual and government levels so that Cashgate is not repeated.
“The minister is right; we will rebound and be stronger only if we put necessary measures in place to stop a recurrence of Cashgate. Any normal person looks back and change wherever possible to make sure that one mistake is not done twice,” he said.