Malawi’s biggest donor,Britain has rebuffed President Peter Mutharika’s plea to resume budgetary support to the impoverished country, until the government clamped “firmly down on corruption”.
The southern African nation has been rocked by the plunder of public resources, known as Capital Hill Cashgate scandal since 2005 and corruption is seen worsening now.
Mutharika sounded a distress call to the donors to resume the aid, which is known as Direct Budgetary Support (DBS).
“We have also worked hard to improve our Public Financial Management Systems, such as undertaking regular bank reconciliation of government accounts, fiscal reporting and pre-audit inspections. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) have also succeeded in securing 100 percent convictions on all Cashgate cases brought before the courts so far and we continue to pursue every case to its logical conclusion,” Mutharika said when he has in audience with Wharton.
Mutharika also said the government will also remain committed to strengthening the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) so that public resources are solely used for the benefit of all people.
He said the system is now transparent and there is also enhanced accountability and the ongoing implementation of public services reforms is also bearing the desired results in improving service delivery and he strongly believes that the country will not have a repeat of the Cashgate scandal.
“With all these developments, Honourable Minister, I wish to appeal to your Government to seriously consider resuming budget support to Malawi. We have no doubt that this will play a critical role in helping us realise the 2030 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Malawi, particularly on “Healthy lives for All,” “Quality Education” and “Combating Climate Change.”
But visiting UK Minister, James Wharton has said his country sill wants justice on Cashgate and that government should restore confidence in its finances, saying UK remains committed to supporting Malawi in its development agenda, there are no plans to resume budgetary support.
Britain urged government to swiftly clean up and strengthen its financial management and social accountability systems to stop the corrupt tendencies that saw billions of kwacha stolen from public coffers, forcing donors to withdraw their direct budgetary support.
Wharton said UK “remain committed to supporting Malawi and its development and its people” but would nor resume giving money directly to government for budget support.
Malawi is perceived to have become significantly more corrupt under the leadership of PresidentMutharika and that there is diminishing fight against corrupt gangsters, a British diplomat said.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which is responsible for tackling graft, had become toothless because ruling politicians were interfering with its director Lucas Kondowe where all corrupt gangsters in the corridors of power are being shielded.
“The cancer of corruption is the most dangerous element that can undermine Malawi’s instability; it undermines Malawi’s selling point as a stable nation. It does not matter that you are elite, it does not matter you are in a position of authority and you think okay, it cannot overcome you. It will come back to haunt you,” former British High Commissioner to Malawi, Micheal Nevin said in interview before he ended his diplomatic tour in the country.
A lecturer Joseph Chunga from Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi said corruption dents the image of the nation and citizens stand to lose out as witnessed in the recent Cashgate scandal, where donors pulled out their budgetary support to the country.
Chunga said where there is corruption, only a few people benefit at the expense of the rest of Malawians, which he said was a sad thing that cannot see the nation develop
Despite suspending aid in 2013, following a revelation of massive plunder of government coffers, donors continued pumping about $1 billion annually into Malawi as programme and designated grants instead of DBS.
Meanwhile, despite not giving direct budget support, Britain remains committed to helping Malawi.
And on Tgursday, Wharton signed an Energy Africa Compact with Malawi’s Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining. Bright Msaka.
The signing of the Compact is the first step in a collaborative arrangement between the British and Malawian governments to transform Malawi’s solar energy market and bring affordable, reliable electricity to millions of Malawians.
With only 9% of Malawians connected to the national grid, off-grid solar solutions are a cost-effective and immediate solution to Malawi’s ongoing energy deficit – helping to power homes and businesses, supporting families to save money that can be spent on basic essentials, and enabling children to study after school, which gives an opportunity for the next generation to contribute to their country’s economic growth and success..
The UK will continue to work closely with the Government of Malawi to implement the commitments in the Compact, which include addressing barriers to the emergent solar market in Malawi.
Energy Africa is a UK (DFID-initiated) campaign to accelerate the expansion of the household solar market in Africa, helping bring universal energy access in the continent forward from 2080 to 2030
A Partnership Agreement was signed between the Government of Malawi and DFID ministers in November 2015 demonstrating the Government of Malawi’s commitment to implementing the Campaign objectives and strengthening the renewables market in Malawi.
This Compact represents action on the most fundamental, urgent market barriers and enablers in the areas of policy framework, fiscal barriers, quality assurance and consumer protection, and initial steps to mobilise the large volumes of private finance that will be required for a vibrant and rapidly growing market to develop.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :