UKâ€™s Department for International Development (DfID) on Wednesday said observance of the Constitution is one of the factors the UK Government will consider when deciding whether to reinstate its general budget support to Malawi.
The remarks follow concerns raised by Britainâ€™s House of Commons International Development Committee on failure to enforce Section 65 of the Constitution which largely affects Members of Parliament who defected from former ruling DPP to President Joyce Bandaâ€™s Peopleâ€™s Party (PP).
The UK is yet to reinstate its direct budget support which was suspended last year amid concerns over bad governance and a diplomatic stand-off between Lilongwe and London during former president Bingu wa Mutharikaâ€™s rule.
“Observance of the Constitution and rule of law will play a part in any future decision to provide general budget support,” said DfID programme manager Andrew Massa when asked how the UK MPsâ€™ concerns on Section 65 would affect restoration of UKâ€™s general budget support to Malawi.
He, however, said the UK is continuing to engage with government to address areas which are crucial for UK to reinstate its budget support.
Said Massa: “The UK continues to meet with the Malawian Government at all levels and to discuss areas of mutual interest, including what needs to be done to create the conditions for the resumption of general budget support.”
UK is Malawiâ€™s largest bilateral donor with most of its aid reaching the health, education, agriculture, water and governance sectors.
After suspension of its direct budget support, the UK rechannelled the support through specific sectors and non-governmental organisations.
Minister of Information and Civic Education Moses Kunkuyu on Tuesday told our sister paper The Nation that government has taken note of concerns from UK MPs, saying President Joyce Bandaâ€™s administration will strive to uphold the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.
Among others, the UK MPs also praised Banda for implementing urgent economic reforms, but still urged her to operate within the law.
“Given DfIDâ€™s status as Malawiâ€™s largest bilateral donor, whatever decision it takes on general budget support is likely to have a catalytic effectâ€”other donors are likely to follow suit. Subject to the continuing progress of economic reforms in Malawi, we urge DfID to reinstate general budget support.
“In view of President Bandaâ€™s commitment to reform, general budget support is likely to be the most effective way of providing support to Malawi.
“It is important to avoid continuing uncertainty, especially given that other donors are likely to follow DfIDâ€™s lead. DfID currently expects to make a decision by the end of 2012, but we would urge it to make its decision as soon as possible,” reads the UK parliamentary committeeâ€™s report.