Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Professor Peter Mutharika on Wednesday said Malawi cannot do without aid.
Mutharika said this in Malawiâ€™s capital, Lilongwe, after meeting an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team that is in the country for talks with local authorities.
â€œMalawi will continue to need some support until such a time [when] we have developed, become [economically] independent and increased our engagement in international trade.
â€œRight now, we [Malawi] havenâ€™t reached that position where we do not need aid,â€ he said.
The ministerâ€™s statement was in sharp constrast to his brother, President Bingu wa Mutharika, who recently told off Western donors currently withholding millions of dollars in general budget support since January 2011 due to concerns over Lilongweâ€™s handling of some governance issues.
Budget support from traditional donors accounts for about 40 percent of the total national budget.
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 $121 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 this Friday.
â€œOur role is to give advice to government based on the experience that we have and not dictate the policies. We are still trying to put the pieces together,â€ said Tsidi Tsikata, IMF division chief in the Africa Department.
This is the second time the IMF team is coming to Malawi in a space of four months.
The first mission last December asked government to devalue the official exchange rate further to between K230 and K250 against the dollar to address a foreign exchange shortage and unlock budgetary support.
- Malawiâ€™s economic programme with the IMF, the Extended Credit Facility, went off-track last June after the countryâ€™s failure to devalue the kwacha as agreedÂ at the signing of the programme.
- The derailment of the programme has prompted donors to freeze their budgetary support as a programme with IMF gives donor countries a greenlight to release their funds.