Ever since Finance Minister Maxwell Mkwezalamba hinted that he intends to frame the next budget without foreign budget support, there has been a chorus of protests from some sections of the civil society, private sector and other stakeholders. Most are worried that excluding aid would squeeze government finances and devastatingly hit public service delivery, especially…

Under the layer of what cooperating partners tried to portray as a unified message this week are sharp differences in positions when it comes to the tricky matter of to disburse or not to disburse. From both inside sources, analysis and observation, it is clear that donors that help finance Malawi’s national budget to the…

The Democratic Progress Party (DPP) is a party that thrives on violence. It is a legacy that its founder, the late president Bingu wa Mutharika, bequeathed on the political grouping’s remnants. And it is becoming increasingly evident that this is a heritage that the party is religiously, zealously and proudly displaying. The way Bingu invented…

Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Saccos) have—since their introduction in Malawi by Catholic Fathers in 1960s—been an important source of financial services for hundreds of thousands of Malawians. With our commercial banks’ rigid and cumbersome demands for one to borrow from them, Saccos’ flexible, faster and simplified loan access has helped many households—especially those on payrolls—to…

‘Malawians have never been freer than today’

At the recent Public Affairs Committee (PAC) conference, Norwegian ambassador Asbjørn Eidhammer made a wide ranging analysis of successive administrations in Malawi, focusing on areas such as corruption and abuse of resources. Nation on Sunday editor Ephraim Munthali caught up with Eidhammer to shed more light on the issues he raised. At the PAC conference, your speech…

Debts, contract breaches rock Fisp

The Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) is crippled as billions in debts, contracts breaches and unaccounted for coupons suck its breath away. Nation on Sunday has established that as at February 11 2014, government owed nearly K33 billion to Fisp suppliers in the 2013/14 season, months after invoice submissions. The total amount that should have been…

Can Ministry of Education’s bold move  help return LDF to original design?

They are there—the skeletons of a failed project parachuted into a community from Capital Hill without the involvement of either the district council or beneficiaries. Under the weight and cloud of alleged corruption, the contractor hired by the Ministry of Education abandoned the project—a classroom block—before it was even roofed. The community just watched. They…

The ruling People’s Party (PP) is reeling under the weight of what some say is a botched primary process that saw several aspirants protesting results. One such hopeful is the party’s deputy publicity secretary Ken Msonda. EPHRAIM MUNTHALI speaks to him on the implications of this problem on people like him and the party in…

All indicators are that government—particularly the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (ML&RD)—is ill-prepared for the return of ward councillors after the first-ever tripartite elections on May 20 2014. Three months before the unknown local representatives take up their new jobs in councils, we still don’t know how much money the councillors—who the ministry…

Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (MCCCI) basis for linking Local Development Fund’s (LDF) additional expenditure to cashgate may have been inaccurate. In its December 30 press statement, the chamber claimed that because the LDF spent over K15 billion more than the K3.5 billion approved estimate in the 2012/2013 financial year, then this…

Drugs situation better but problems remain

Availability of essential drugs has improved in some district hospitals in the country, but problems remain as the new procurement policy struggles to respond to operational realities at facility level. During a media tour of three district hospitals and one referral facility to assess the essential drugs situation during the festive period, officials there said…

The other day—nearly two weeks ago to be exact—former president Bakili Muluzi took time from his not-so busy schedule to offer unsolicited advice to President Joyce Banda and her People’s Party (PP) administration. Desperate to be relevant and trying to cast himself as an elder statesman, as he obviously positions himself to campaign for his…