BLANTYRE(MaraPost)—Executive Director of the Economists Association of Malawi (ECAMA), Nelson Mkandawire says Malawians should brace for tough times as lawmakers are set to start deliberating 2014-2015 zero-aid budget on Tuesday.

Mkandawire argues that Malawi is being caught in dilemma every time donor support is no longer assured because the country does not find long term plans of reducing donor dependence.
“If you look at the whole performance so far you will realize that we are not doing very well given the cashgate scenario that happened last year and donors had pulled out and they are yet to come back. So when we think of 2014-2015 budget we expect government to present the budget that would be balancing up how Malawi is going to generate resources that will propel the development agenda for the nation; a budget that obviously will be showing more of own generated resources and likely less of support from  the donors.
“As such it may be a budget that would compel MRA to gear up into revenue collection strategies so that the expenditure sight of the budget could be met. Otherwise it is going to be challenging one to see how the expenditure sight of Malawi is going to be managed given that there is no support from donors,” said Mkandawire in an interview with ZBS on Monday.
He further said that the Zero-aid budget is always a challenge mainly because the country does find long term plans of achieving economic independence.
“It is going to be challenging time honestly speaking. Of-course last time when we did that we had the withholding of donor support and it is the same scenario now. Unfortunately, what we do not do well is preparing ourselves for a future point of view; we seem to prepare ourselves for a short term. We have not really geared for the gradual winning of strategy to ensure that even if donors say we are giving you funds we will still be not affected much,” he said.
The Zero-aid budget follows the stance by the donors not to release the US$150 million budgetary support they withheld in the wake of the massive plundering of public resources at Capitol Hill in Lilongwe.
The Cooperation partners, through the Common Approach to Budgetary Support (CABS), also expressed concern over lack of prudent public finance management within the civil service.

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