Malawi donors spell doom: ‘It will take time to resume aid’

Malawi’s donors under Common Approach to Budgetary Support (CABS) who recently suspended $150 million in budgetary aid over the looting of public funds from government coffers, say it will take time for them to resume aid to the donor dependent southern African country whose 40 percent of its national budget comes from donors.

Speaking during the food distribution exercise in Malawi’s eastern district of Balaka, Head of UK’s Department for International Development in Malawi, Sara Sanyahumbi said the donors will only start thinking about reconsidering its decision on resumption of aid only after government meet certain conditions on its financial management systems .

“We have made it very clear to the government that at the moment as it stands there are problems with the government financial systems,” the Dfid head.

“While they are being addressed, we have also said it is going to take time to address those problems and because the confidence has been lost it will take a little bit of time for us to restore the confidence in these systems,” she said.

Sarah Sanyahumbi: We need to regain confidence

Sanyahumbi said meanwhile the UK and other donors are providing support to the government’s action plan which includes measures to strengthen the Integrated Financial Managing Information System (IFMIS) and forensic audit.

“We need those things to happen. We need a period of time for the system to function properly and independently verified that it is a safe system and after that is when we may start gaining confidence but it will take a bit  long time,” she said.

Sanyahumbi said although  she knows that the forensic audit team is expected to come up with  its report in January there will still be more things that will need to done after January.

“Some of the issues we have talked about on IFMIS like the IT Security Manager and a Senior Manager are already in place but the actual independent monitoring is not there yet. So from January we will need time to see that the system is functioning well and also independently verified that everything is functioning properly,” she said.

Malawi President Joyce banda said recently  that she won’t “cry” over the freezing of aid by foreign donors due to a multi-million dollar corruption scandal that involves dozens of her officials.

The embattled leader said she was not going to cry over the freezing of aid although she understood the need for cooperating partners to have confidence in her government,

Banda said she would work hard to ensure trust was built between her government and the donors, adding that everyone involved in the scandal would be held accountable.

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