Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development is optimistic that government will give a favourable report to donors and International Monetary Fund (IMF) on progress of the Public Finance Management Reforms it has been undertaking following Cashgate.
Donors remain dissatisfied with progress of the reforms and have categorically stated that they would not resume budgetary support, instead would channel funds through other partners rather than government.
Government has been implementing reforms in the areas of accounting and reporting, treasury and cash management, auditing and compliance and control, among others.
Addressing journalists attending Illicit Financing Investigative Journalism training in Lilongwe yesterday, Ministry of Finance spokesperson Nations Msowoya said there has been remarkable progress on several areas of reforms.
“Being interested parties, we should not be the ones to judge if the progress has been good, but I can safely say that there has been remarkable progress,” he said.
Msowoya said there is now strengthened coordination on cash management among agencies such as Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), Accountant General and Treasury, resulting in improved abilities on preparation of cash flows.
Government has also closed dormant accounts which might have been used to siphon money.
There were an estimated 200 bank accounts that government held in various commercial banks, some without the knowledge of controlling officers.
Msowoya said to improve the Integrated Finance Management Information System (Ifmis), tendering for new software is currently underway, adding that results of the payroll audit and head count which were conducted as part of the reforms last year are expected to be out this month end.
As public finance management reforms are being implemented, government is reeling under the burden of under-collection of revenues by MRA for the past four months. Latest figures from MRA indicate an under-collection by K5.6 billion (about $7.7million).
Msowoya, however, said apart from domestic revenues, government was expecting development assistance from the World Bank to help the country sail through the troubled times.
“It is no secret that the economy is not as vibrant. What MRA collects depends on economic activity. But statistics coming from MRA shows that there is rampant tax evasion,” he said.