MBC in financial crisis, bank accounts frozen

The national broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) is reeling from serious financial problems which have seen its bank accounts being frozen.

According to a senior official at the institution, MBC has been, financially overburdened, due to lack of government funding to finance the continuous live coverage of presidential errands dubbed “development rallies”.

The broadcaster has not received any funding for elections from the Treasury despite the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) authorizing release of K500 million for elections programming.

Msowoya: Government is positive
Msowoya: Government has been hit by aid withdraw

Minister of Information and Civic Education, Brown Mpinganjira could not immediately comment.

Ministry of Finance Nations Msowoya conceded that government has been hit by aid withdrawal, which in the end affects funds allocation to various ministries and departments.

“Everybody knows that as a result of the cashgate scandal, donors under Cabs withdrew their budgetary support to Government. Consequently, government reduced its funding to Ministries and Departments,” Msowoya lamented.

A senior MBC official revealed that the institution’s bank accounts were frozen two weeks ago due to failure to service its debts with commercial banks amounting to millions, adding it was currently operating on ‘hand-to-mouth’ basis from funds generated from adverts.

“It is through money generated from adverts that we able to fund some of the operations, especially covering Head of State rallies, which are draining us a lot. We have been struggling to pay our employees because of same issue of lack of funds,” complained the official.

MBC, according to the official, requires over K3 million weekly to fund President’s daily trips including the development rallies.

“A week ago we requested for K15 million from the Treasury to meet expenses for the campaign period coverage but we got nothing. The situation is really worse.”

Ministry of Finance Nations Msowoya while playing down claims that ministries including prison department were failing to purchase basic items, conceded that the government has been hit by aid withdrawal.

He added: “Accordingly, ministries cut down on their operations as there was no money to fund all activities. Some of the areas that were reduced included the payment of allowances where official trips had to be undertaken. There has also been reduction in the acquisition of many consumables in ministries and departments.”

MBC recently complained to Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) of the worsening financial situation, which has hampered infrastructural improvement and growth. This has rendered the institution unable to fully meet its mandate and provide balanced coverage to all political parties during the campaign period as the country hold Tripartite Elections on May 20th, 2014.

MBC continues to face shortage of transport, shortage of cameras which has failed the station from covering activities of political parties and candidates.

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