The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Malawi has disputed reports that it has pulled out the K5 billion aid to Malawi meant for the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT).
A statement which the Malawi News Agency (MANA) has seen, the Embassy says Norway has not pulled out the K5 billion aid as alleged by the papers.
“The information that “Norway pulls out K5billion aid” does not reflect the state of affairs presently,” read part of the statement signed by Head of Development Cooperation Bjarne Garden.
The statement also says that a new proposal for continued support has been presented to the Norwegian Government for review and that a decision is yet to be made.
On its front page of the 25th September edition, the Daily Times carried a story saying the Norwegian government has decided to pull out the aid following the wrangles which have been going on between Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) and a group calling itself Citizens for the Protection of Mulanje led by Mulanje South constituency parliamentarian Bon Kalindo.
Confirming the pull out, chairperson of MMCT’s board of trustees, Eston Sambo, said the embassy has decided to pull out at a critical time when it had already committed US$8 million (K5.2 billion) towards maintenance of the mountain’s ecosystem and improvement of livelihoods of the communities around the massif.
“We are greatly worried with this development considering that we depend on donors such as the Royal Norwegian Embassy for implementation of our programmes,” he said.
He, however, blamed the concerned citizens, led by politician Bon Kalindo, for distorting the image of the trust.
“Claims, as peddled by that group, that we were only destroying the mountain rather than conserving it, and that we were bringing science or whatsoever, have cost us a lot; they have already given us a rotten image nationally and internationally,” Sambo lamented.
“This prompted the embassy, which has been funding us in the past five years, to start questioning our credentials and credibility. They said they could no longer take the risk of funding us the next five years as they thought we were really tainted which is very unfortunate,” he said.
The Norwegian Embassy entered into agreement with Malawi government in 2008 to financially support biodiversity conservation of the Mulanje Mountain forest reserve through the Department of Forestry and MMCTFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :