Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, who is also Leader of Opposition in Parliament, has said the government led by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is still not trustworthy for donors to pump money.
Chakwera was reacting to revised budget announced by Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe when he trimmed the 2016/17 financial plan by K20 billion following poor performance of grants and development support from donors in the first-half of the year.
“It is not a surprise that the money did not come through because this government is still not trustworthy because when you look at corruption and fraud that is taking place in the country, no donor can have the audacity to invest in the country. And my assessment is that we are not out of the woods yet,” Chakwera said.
Gondwe lamented the “disappointingly low” grants and funds for foreign financed projects, where only K30 billion was received by December 31 2016 against a target of K103.3 billion reflecting an underperformance of 71 percent.
The Finance Minister had projected an ambitious 45.5 percent increase in grants compared with the 2015/16 revised budget and is encouraged by the good performance of domestic revenues between July and December which resulted in a K400 billion collection beyond the K378 billion target.
Gondwe expects Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to collect an additional K57.2 billion in domestic revenue, an upward revision based on the tax revenue collections between July and December, 2016.
The Finance Minister said the economy is on its way to recovery.
But Chakwera begs to differ.
“This is not the first time the Minister of Finance has talked about economic rebound, how could you talk about a rebound when you have a private sector that in six months has been the worst affected because government is failing to give them back the money it owes them?” queried Chakwera.
Chakwera stressed that there is no sign that the country’s economy is on the rebound, saying Gondwe did not outline specific issues that would lead to economic recovery.