No Donors, no development

It is clear that the Arthur Peter Mutharika administration has given up on budget support from donors. This was confirmed by his Excellency the President Arthur Peter Mutharika in Mangochi last Saturday. He also said that the opposition should practice politics of reconciliation because otherwise donors might misunderstand the process for political instability. This he combined with threats and comparing himself to Jesus, and the opposition to Pharizees. The logic is incomprehensible: how are the opposition Pharizees? How does giving up on donors combine with asking the opposition to woo dwonors? How do threats go with a call for reconciliation?

Giving up on budget support is setting the government up for very serious budget deficits even on fixed costs. That means there is no way that the government can initiate development projects; that will be left to NGOs, CSOs and such, with donor support (a significant part of the budget support is now rechannelled into project support). Government is giving up the control it had over development.

All this while on the same Saturday, donors declared in a clear interview what it would take to unfreeze budget support: close the leaking basket that is the national treasury. But here government has been stalling: they have been in power for more than 18 months now and they have not even ordered the necessary software for setting up a (reasonably) water tight financial system (IFMIS). This can only mean one thing: closing the leaks does not have high priority for this government. Is it that it is politically necessary to create opportunities for influential supporters to steal our tax money? Is it that the President is not in control, but he has to appease the thieves of our national treasury? Or what else can it be that stops our government from closing the leaks and keeping our hard paid tax money safe from thieves?

Your guess is as good as mine.


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