Malawi starts working on ‘zero deficit budget’ – Finance Minister

Malawi government has started working on 2014/15 national budget which doesn’t not include 40 percent it gets from donors, Finance minister, Maxwell Mkwezalamba, has confirmed.

But Mkwezalamba told a local radio on Wednesday that this is not a zero deficit budget.

“We can’t say it’s a zero deficit budget because we have left a room to be filled with donor aid once they resume funding”, he said.

Malawi’s major donors under Common Approach to Budget Support (CABS) withheld aid to Malawi in November last year after losing confidence in how the country had been managing its public finances which led to civil servants siphoning money from its coffers.

Mkwezalamba:  We hope some donors will pump in money
Mkwezalamba: We hope some donors will pump in money

During a joint Cabs review meeting with government at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC), there was also no commitment by the donors to resume budget support towards the 2013/14 national budget that expires on June 30 this year following the withholding of about $150 million (K61 billion), a decision announced in November 2013.

The CABS said it will support the Government of Malawi in the implementation of a comprehensive strategic work plan that will build on the current progress and will include  implementation of recommendations from the forensic audit report (April-Sep 2013) and other ongoing PFM interventions.

“The success of this strategic approach over the medium term will require strong political leadership. In this regard, DPs will continue to be in dialogue and supportive of the efforts of the Government – current and in future – to drive the financial management reforms forward until the intended objectives are achieved.

“The aim is to build a credible, effective and efficient public financial management system over the medium term, capable of supporting public goods and service delivery in line with the Government of Malawi’s obligations to its citizens”.

Some commentators have recommended Malawi on the move saying the first step toward self dependence.

Mkwezalamba said government has confidence that it is possible to have sound Public Finance Management Systems in Malawi.

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