A leading newspaper in Malawi has said government is hard to trust in its editorial commenting on reports about the government refunding K70 million to the World Bank and the Bretton Woods institution has said it will not resume budget support to Malawi anytime soon.
The Weekend Nation quoted World Bank communications officer, Zeria Banda, saying there are no prospects that Malawi could start receiving budgetary aid from bank.
She said Malawi Government could not account for part of the K70 million intended for public works programmes in Dowa and Phalombe districts. The bank demanded the refund of the money which Malawi government has made.
Commenting in its editorial column, Weekend Nation said: “The question that lingers, after government has been forced to refund, is: does anyone at all in government care to learn the harsh lessons from such incidents to avert a recurrence?”
It further said: “We can talk all day about public sector reforms or public finance management systems reforms, but if government adopts a business-as-usual attitude in dealing with errant public officers, we might as well be preaching to an empty church.
“If government can abuse donor funds — which come with stringent conditions attached and are closely monitored —with such impunity, we have little trust that it handles locally generated resources, for which it is accountable to itself, with any prudence.”
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe is preparing to present the 2015/16 National Budget.
World Bank, alongside other major donors, has been withholding budget support for Malawi since the unravelling of the massive looting of public funds at the Capital Hill popularly known as Cashgate.