Peter Mutharika contradicts Bingu on donors

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Professor Peter Mutharika on Wednesday said Malawi cannot do without donor aid, contradicting his brother and Head of State Bingu wa Mutharika who has always despised donors.

The Minister who is also ruling DPP presidential candidate said this n Lilongwe after he met an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team that is in the country for talks with local authorities.

“Malawi will continue to need support until such a time we have developed, become economically independent and increased our engagement in international trade.

Peter Mutharika: Malawi cannot do without donors

“Right now, we (Malawi) haven’t reached that position where we do not need aid,” he is quoted to have said.

The Minister’s statement was in sharp contrast to his brother’s recent statement when he told off Western donors who are currently withholding millions of dollars in general budget support since January 2011 due to concerns over bad governance.

Budget support from traditional donors accounts for about 40 percent of the total national budget.

According to the press report, Finance and Development Planning Minister Dr. Ken Lipenga this year told Parliament that the national budget support freeze has left a budget hole of about USD121 million (about K20.2 billion) in form of grants.

The IMF mission is in the country to review recent economic developments and assess the mid-term economic outlook. The team is expected to release a statement on its mission in Malawi on Friday.

Tsidi Tsikata, IMF division chief in the Africa Department says their role is “to give advice to government based on the experience that we have and not dictate the policies.”

The first mission last December asked government to devalue the Malawi Kwacha and peg it at between K230 and K250 against the dollar to address foreign exchange shortage and unlock budgetary support.

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