Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has appealed to Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe and donors to reconsider a decision to abandon a mechanism in which funds are being channelled off-budget because it violates aid-effectiveness principles.
Donors have stood their ground that Account Number One can no longer be trusted at the back of Cashgate during which some civil servants connived with the private sector to siphon billions of kwacha from government coffers.
But MCP spokesperson on finance, Alexander Kusamba-Dzonzi, asked the minister to explain the position regarding off-budget support.
He recalled that, recently, President Peter Mutharika told the nation that ministries of Health and Education are the most corrupt, yet they are key beneficiaries of the off-budget support.
“Can the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development explain the meaning of this? MCP, once again, appeals to the Government of Malawi and the development partners to rethink against this arrangement and start following the country’s prescribed financial systems and operate within the Public Finance Management Framework,” he said.
Gondwe has said he expects a ‘sizeable amount’ of dedicated and project grants in the 2015/16 budget, arguing that this meant this was not a zero-aid budget.
He said multilateral institutions such as the European Union, the World Bank and Export and Import Bank of China were increasing their dedicated grants.
However, his reassurances are coming at a time when grants in the 2015/16 budget performed badly where the target of K75.3 billion was underperformed by K36.5 billion.
Meanwhile, People’s Party (PP) spokesperson on finance Ralph Jooma received applause on Monday when he fished out a Hansard record to remind the government that he predicted that the 2015/16 budget assumptions were too ambitious.
Jooma, in an ‘I told you so’ tone, said it has now become clear that there was too much expectation from the private sector whose growth was being hampered by the government which was not paying them arrears.