Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation Dr George Thapatula Chaponda, the strongman in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government, on Wednesday met ambassadors and other heads of diplomatic missions at Capital Hill in Lilongwe and pleaded that the poor southern African nation is in desperate need of aid.
Donors, who provide about 40 percent of Malawi’s budget, pulled the plug on aid of around $150 million from cashgate fraud scandal in government.
Chaponda told donors that the country is facing numerous economic challenges and persuaded them to resume budgetary support so that the nation can fasten its social economic development.
Some of the ambassadors present at the meeting included the influential front man, the European Union country representative, Ambassador Marchel Gerrmann, US Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer, British High Commissioner Michael Nevin.
Briefing reporters, Chaponda described the meeting as very critical.
“The meeting was very important because I was briefing the diplomatic missions to Malawi on the 2015 highlights. In my report I described the 2015 as a mixed bag, since there were some positives and negatives,” Chaponda said he asked donors to resume aid to Malawi.
“I am happy to report that response is positive and as you might have heard from the Minister of Finance that we will be on IMF track.”
Chaponda said he also briefed donors on the progress of cashgate cases.
“I pleaded with them that they should start supporting us financially because the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the Ministry of Justice is doing everything possible on prosecuting all cash gate suspects,” he said.
But he said donors want to see improvements before they can open the aid taps.
“Some of them have shown that they may come back soon but maybe in another form. Maybe just financial support,” said Chaponda.
He assured the diplomats that the Peter Mutharika administration was reforming the management of public finances “to avoid a repetition of the Cashgate”.
Chaponda said during the meeting he took an opportunity to thank donors for responding to President Peter Mutharika appeal for support following the various calamities such as floods and drought which hit the country.
“Following the appeal donors has given Malawi USD146Million and I was asking them to finish payment of the deficit that we have at the moment.”
During the meeting, Chaponda briefed the donors on the positives of 2015.
“I also reported to the donors that during the 2015 Government successfully negotiated various projects such as; the 300 Megawatt Kam’mwamba Coal Fired Power Plant, which is aimed at increasing the power generating capacity of Malawi to meet the ever increasing demand. The project cost is estimated at US$667,232,814.” said Chaponda.
Chaponda said during the 2015 Malawi successfully negotiated a US$2 million Second Grant for the Procurement of police vehicles for the Malawi Police Service.
“I also briefed donors on the E-Government (National Identity) Project–The Chinese Government approved the Fibre Back-bone component of the project, which will lay the fibre optic cables to increase internet connectivity. The second component of the National Identification Project, however, will be subjected to further discussions. The entire project is estimated to cost US$50 million,” said Chaponda.
According to President Peter Mutharika, who came to power in 2014 after defeating Joyce Banda in an election, the decision by donors to cut aid due Cashgate has contributed to the country’s economic hardship.
Mutharika claims his administration inherited a number of problems and that the government was “almost bankrupt because most of our donor partners left after the Cashgate scandal.”
Malawi’s plight worsened in January when severe floods left more than 170 people dead and 200,000 homeless.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :