JB hints on zero-deficit budgeting: ‘I won’t cry about Malawi aid freeze’

Malawi President Joyce Banda has hinted that her administration will work towards achieving economic independence for the country by financing its recurrent budget other than relying on donors.

Currently Malawi depends on donors to bankroll up to 40 percent of its development budget. The Western donors have since withheld their aid following a massive looting of public resources at treasury.

But speaking in an interview  with UK’s Financial Times recorded on a video clip, President Banda  said Malawi should move ahead to replace aid with trade and finance its budget.

“It is also critical for us to find alternative ways of raising funds,” said Banda in reaction to the aid freeze.

President Banda in an interview with Telegraph says she won’t be a “cry baby” about donors pulling aid

“We cannot sit back and allow ourselves to depend on donors for 40 percent of our budget, that’s unacceptable.”

“I have given myself 10 years,” she said on a time frame for Malawi to be economically independent.

“For me the first step is the stopping of stealing [which] will save us a lot of money,” said President Banda.

And in another interview with British broadsheet newspaper, The Telegraph, President Banda said she will not be a “cry baby” over the decision by Western donors including Britain to freeze aid.

“If you want me to be a cry baby I cannot, I am the leader of a country. If you want to give me something and then withdraw it, fine, I must respect your decision. I am not going to cry over it, no,” she said.

“The donors have not walked away for the first time. They come and go and come and go but we are here, we did not die,” she said.

“Sometimes when these things happen, you grow up, you find other ways. We must become creative, we are not going to be dependant forever. Perhaps this is a golden opportunity for us.

“If we do certain things right and if we are as determined as we are as I sit here, in 10 years’ time the donors shall be our partners, not our providers, and we shall have weaned ourselves from budget support.”

Meanwhile, President Banda also told The Telegraph that she had put mechanism to fight corruption, fraud and any financial malfeasance in in government.

“I have made an announcement that if you are my daughter, my son, my party official, my cabinet minister, and you find yourself involved in this, you are going to go to jail. I am not going to stand in the way.

“Yes, people in the UK will feel they are justified to withhold aid but I also think the UK will look at a new breed of leaders across the continent that have decided to fight it,” Banda is quoted in the paper as saying,

Donors have called on Malawi to act swiftly on the plunder of public resources, known as the Capital Hill Cashgate scandal.

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