Donors to Malawi: No aid till March 2014 By REX CHIKOKO in Blantyre | Thursday, December 19  2013 at  18:43

Donors under the Common Approach to Budget Support (Cabs) have told Malawi to tighten the belt as no aid would be disbursed before March 2014.

They made the announcement at a wrap-up of the Cabs review meeting in Lilongwe Wednesday, saying it would take time for them to regain confidence in the Malawi’s public finance management system.

Cabs co-chairperson Sarah Sanyahumbi, who is also head of the British Department for International Department (DfID) in Malawi, said that significant improvements would only be visible in March next year.

Donors withheld aid to Malawi over the massive theft that took place in government the past few months.

“Government is doing a good job so far, but there is a far way to go and will take a bit of time, simply to restore the confidence and take necessary steps to strengthen the [Ifmis] system,” she said.

Ms Sanyahumbi said investigations into the cash-gate were in early stages and that results from the forensic audit on the Ifmis would only be out in January 2014.

However, said the donors, Cabs would continue to assist Malawi in other sectors such as health and education.

Malawi's Finance minister Maxwell Mkwezalamba said although donors had delayed budget support, there was evidence that they would continue to help Malawi, though not through the government system.

He also assured the donors that government was committed to strengthening the public finance management system by implementing the Government Action Plan on cash-gate.

"I am sure we should see things moving in the right direction after the IMF meeting in January and Cabs meeting in March," he said.

Government is operating on a shoe string budget and has since sent its workers on forced leave.