Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has said the World Bank rescinded its pledge to disburse K60 billion in budgetary support to the Malawi Government because it “noted some governance gaps which are substantive in nature.”
The withholding of World Bank budgetary support has forced Treasury to trim its planned expenditure this financial year.
Responding to 2018/19 Mid-Year Budget Review Statement Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe delivered in Parliament, Lilongwe Mpenu Nkhoma member of Parliament (MP) Collins Kajawa who sat in for Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson on Finance Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi, said the loss of revenue in this fiscal year of K60 billion from World Bank is “very worrisome”
He said: “It is evident that the bank has noted some governance gaps which are substantive in nature. Donor confidence should be earned on prudent evidence centred platform.”
Kajawa said fraud and leakages to financial systems easily strangulate sources of aid to death.
“For example, Right Honourable Speaker, Sir, miscellaneous payments in the Mid-Year Budget Review have been increased from K13.5 billion to K18.1 billion without defining the breakdown and explanations thereon. How can we earn trust on governance matters?
“Mr Speaker, Sir, an expense valued of K906 million has been recorded under unforeseen expenditure. What transactions have been authorised in this vote?” queried the MCP legislature.
Kajawa said it is in the interest of MCP to know the beneficiaries of the amount where K906 million has been recorded under unforeseen expenditure.
He requested: “Can the Honourable Minister submit a detailed matrix of this expenditure? “
MCP also accused government of not giving the correct picture of economic performance in the country through the Mid-Year Budget Review Statement tabled in Parliament on Friday.
Kajawa asked the government to seriously consider and taking on board alternatives from the MCP such as ensuring that the rate of economic growth is higher than the population growth as a strategy to expedite sustainable economic growth rate targeting a minimum annual growth rate of 6 per cent.
He cautioned government to stop borrowing both domestically and internationally, noting that the debts have now reached K3.3 trillion.
“We should not borrow in order to consume. We should not borrow in order to do every simple development project. Rather, we should organise ourselves in such a way that whatever, we have should be utilised to empower our local people,” he said.
He asked the government to restore the public trust and donor confidence necessary for sustaining and safeguarding both the budget support and development partnerships that are rooted in shared values at all levels.
Kajawa also said political interference and mismanagement in procurement systems and organisations should be uprooted completely.
“We long to see efficiency and accountability both in the civil service and private sector. If these cannot be done now, Malawi Congress Party is ready and steady to implement the proposals soon after the general elections in May this year,” Kajawa said.
People’s Party (PP) spokesperson on Finance John Chikalimba reiterated the MCP position, saying it was sad that government mentioned economic growth when people are still living in abject poverty.
He acknowledged the sentiments by government that the economy is on a modest rebound, but said downside risks still remain.
“Yes, the economy has grown by about 4 per cent in 2018; a rate that is faster than the 2.9 per cent increase in population,” said Chikalimba.
However, Chikalimba said several “headwinds” are likely to drag the economic rebound.
“These include vulnerability to climate shocks, which we are witnessing at the moment, corruption, limited infrastructure, low adoption of technology and the persistent energy deficits,” he said.
Chikalimba said the forthcoming election may also be a down risk to the economy.
“There is a risk that attention of resources will be diverted from productive investment to financing election activities,” he pointed out.
Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament chairperson Rhino Chiphiko response to the budget was withdrawn by Speaker Richard Msowoya after some members of the committee said the chairperson did not consult them.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :