Finance minister Goodall Gondwe has said Access to Information Bill is one of the new conditions donors have told the government to pass into law before they resume aid.
Malawi lost up to 40 percent of the budget support aid it was receiving from foreign donors when the European Union, the World Bank, and the United Kingdom suspended aid last year because of the corruption scandal, known as “Cashgate.”
Speaking on Wednesday in parliament when he presented a ministerial statement on the outlook of the economy, Gondwe said there are also other sets of bills that the government is being pressurised and pushed by donors before they resume aid.
He did not however say when the Access to Information bill would be tabled to accelerate the resumption of the much needed aid whose withdrawal has severely crippled the economy.
Gondwe said other areas that donors want the Malawi government to look into critically before the resumption of aid include the wage administration to ensure that Capital Hill expunge ghost workers.
The donors also want change in farm inputs programme, saying they want fertilizer to e sold by the private sector instead of the state run Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRM).
The Finance Minister, however, raised expectations of donor aid resumption to a new bar, saying he was extremely hopeful Malawi would be on track with the IMF extended credit facility.
Gondwe said despite the fact that the World Bank and European Union slapped the government with another set of 20 new and tougher demands as conditions for the resumption of aid to his country, apart from the usual IMF conditions, the government is upbeat that all the needed aid will be resumed by the fourth quarter of 2016.
“We need to be patient, we need to work hard as we pass through the turbulence;” said Gondwe.
Gondwe advised public officers to cut down external travel, saying it is sad that some officers take this as an income generating venture.
He also asked hospital management to exercise financial prudence, saying the government has noted with concern that in some cases, government had fully funded hospitals but management had used the money for its travel allowances leaving ambulances grounded and failing to buy food for patients.
“I am happy that my colleague, the minister of health is taking this seriously, he is in Mangochi meeting the hospital management,” he said.
“We are passing through turbulent times that were started by the floatation of the kwacha and withdrawal of donor aid. We need to take strong adjustment measures, strongest sacrifices,” he said.
Gondwe said Malawi will soon achieve its economic stability but could not say when exactly.
The Finance Minister said the current high inflation rate hovering at 25 per cent; the high interest rates and volatile exchange rate are pushing the cost of life up and enhancing poverty.
Malawian government has a zero-aid budget for 2015/16 as part of an attempt to win back the trust of major donors who do not want to see their money wasted.
According to Gondwe, Malawi government policy now is to embark on a stringent limitation of the need for budgetary support as Lilongwe is embarking on a public finance management reform program.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :