Malawi implementing revenue mobilization strategy to improve education financing

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs has said it is implementing a domestic revenue mobilization strategy to improve the financing of education, among other essential public services.

The ministry’s Spokesperson, Taurai Banda, stated this amid calls urging authorities to decolonize education financing by, among others, rejecting austerity measures negatively affecting “proper investment” in education.

Taurai Banda, Ministry of Finance Spokesperson

Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC), comprising 82 organizations, made such calls as part of commemoration of the Global Action Week for Education (GAWE).

The coalition says conditions for accessing loans and aid—imposed by Bretton Woods institutions and other donor partners—discourage increased spending to essential public services, including education.

Apparently, International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and other international financial institutions and donor partners have set, among other conditions, that the public wage bill should not grow beyond 7.5 percent of the GDP.

However, Banda said the focus of the government is enhancing and strengthening levels of domestic revenue collection.

“It is indeed true that funding to education institutions is primarily based on the availability of funds from our resource envelope, which is limited.

Kisa Kumwenda, CSEC Program Manager

“For instance, in the current budget, government has a financing gap of about MK1.3 billion with regards to education activities.

“In the medium and long term, government is implementing a domestic revenue mobilization strategy, which aims at increasing the tax to GDP ratio by five percentage points between 2021-2026”.

On his part, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Mphatso Nkuonera, said the ministry has not received any formal communication with regard to calls for decolonization of education financing.

He urged the CSOs to come forward for dialogue and discussions on the matter.

“The issue is multisectoral, requiring the Ministry of Education to conduct serious consultations involving all relevant stakeholders, including the citizenry.

“CSOs are our important stakeholders. They need to come with a formal request outlining their proposals that we must subject to consultation. There is need for a consensus decision on the matter, which cannot happen overnight”.

During GAWE commemoration, CSEC and its partners held, among other activities, press briefing and high-level stakeholders meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Speaking during the high-level meeting, CSEC Program Manager, Kisa Kumwenda, reiterated that development partners, private sector and CSOs need to invest in Malawi in line with the country’s priorities, such as education.

“That way, there will be progress, especially in the education sector. Just look at the impact of Tropical Cyclone Freddy. A lot of education infrastructure has been damaged. Children gravely affected. We need investment there”.

Advocacy and Communications Officer for Rays of Hope-Pamodzi Project, Dailes Banda, concurred with Kumwenda, adding that decolonizing education financing “will also enable players to prioritize subsectors that really matter, such as inclusive education”.

GAWE activities were held under the theme: “Investing in a Just World: Decolonizing Education Financing Now”.

CSEC held the commemoration in collaboration with its partners that, among others, include: Forum for African Women Educationalists in Malawi (FAWEMA), ECD Coalition, Fount for Nations, Rays of Hope, Girls Activist Youth Organization and Oxfam Malawi.

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