An influential daily newspaper has said Malawi’s failure to qualify for the second compact of the United States of America (USA) government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is a “lost opportunity” for the country.
Malawi’s eligibility for another compact rested on satisfying a set of 20 indicators in a scorecard, paramount of which was fighting corruption.
But poor governance and failure to tame corruption have cost Malawi eligibility for the second compact.
The Nation newspaper on Friday bemoaned the missing out of MCC second compact, saying it is a lost opportunity because through MCC and the local implementing unit, the US Government has provided a $351 million (K257 billion) grant that is set to improve the power generation and transmission infrastructure and will come to an end in September 2018.
In its editorial comment, the paper said failure for Malawi to qualify is also an indicator of poor governance and lukewarm fight against corruption.
The paper’s editorial said: “We do not think MCC demands too much, if anything, the targets on the scorecard are basics. Countries should embrace democratic governance, and holistically fight corruption. It should not be about pleasing anyone, as it were.”
It went on: “Qualifying for the second compact could have freed resources that the country will now be investing in areas the new compact could have covered, Worse still, the country now risks borrowing, in essence, mortgaging the country for future generations, to cover up the costs.”
However, the US Embassy public affairs officer Edward J. Monster said the country should demonstrate “a strong commitment to combating corruption” in order to have a chance for the new compact.
Said Monster: “Looking forward, it will be important for the Government of Malawi to show a strong commitment to combating corruption, especially given the trajectory on the Control of Corruption indicator in recent years.”
He said the selection for a second compact is not automatic and that they are competitive and subject to greater scrutiny for eligibility.
He said: “When considering a second compact, MCC’s Board of Directors looks for successful implementation of the first compact; a commitment to sector reforms; and continued improvement on MCC’s scorecard, especially on issues of Democratic Rights and Control of Corruption.”
Monster said the country could still be considered in the future if it continues to pass MCC scorecard.
The paper said MCC decision should provide “food for thought” for Malawi government and call for an “honest review” of the shortfalls.
Government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology, said they would study carefully the benchmarks to qualify for another compact and work on improving them “so that we qualify for the next compact.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :