Treasury has said it will scale down funding for government operations in some of the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) amid the economic challenges the country is going through.
In this regard, Treasury has asked the MDAs to prioritise expenditure.
In a statement issued at the weekend, Secretary to the Treasury (ST) Ben Botolo said funding priority will be given to areas of great concern in need of more funding such as the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) for procurement of drugs and medical supplies.
He said the health sector is one of the key priority areas that need serious attention as most of the hospitals are running out of their stock, a development that can worsen if there are no immediate interventions.
Said Botolo: “We are looking at hospitals because some hospitals have run out of medicine, especially district hospitals. We are looking at some of them going 100 percent or beyond what they are supposed to be given while central hospitals such as Kamuzu Central Hospital [KCH] and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital [QECH] are within their capacity.”
He said apart from CMST being one of the key areas, winter cropping will also be an area of focus because if there will be any devastating effects of false army worms that hit some parts of the country, there will be need for cushion.
The ST accused some MDAs of failing to abide by their rules to submit expenditure returns, a development that is leading them not to be funded because they receive funding once they make submissions.
According to Botolo, MDAs are supposed to submit their expenditure returns by the 16th of each and every month.
Earlier this month, delivery of services in some district and town councils came to a halt because Treasury had not funded them for two months, claiming that they had not submitted their expenditure returns.
Last week, Treasury also told the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) that it does not have money for the electoral body to conduct by-elections that were slated for June 6 in Lilongwe and other constituencies as the intended funds were diverted for other purposes, a development that civil rights activist Rafiq Hajat described as ridiculous.
According to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, the requirement to submit monthly expenditure reports was part of the Public Finance Management Act of 2003 which was suspended following the introduction of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS), government’s electronic payment system.