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No ATI, no EU/ World Bank aid

The Malawi government has been told that it will not be able to access about US$80 million (K48 billion) in aid from the European Union and the World Bank if the country will not have enacted the Access to Information Bill by December 31, 2015.

This is according to a report on a European Union/World Bank Joint Matrix Review Meeting held in the Ministry of Finance boardroom at Capital Hill in Lilongwe last Wednesday, December 2, 2015, which The Daily Times has in its possession.

The meeting was chaired by the Secretary to Treasury Ronald Mangani.

According to the report, the meeting expressed concern that since Cabinet deferred further consideration of the Bill and directed its review, no progress has been made.

“The meeting observed that failure to pass the Bill in the next 28 days [from December 2, 2015] shall mean Malawi failing to access 2.5 million euros and 14 million euros from EU and 50 million dollars from World Bank,” reads the report in part.

The meeting has since asked the Malawi government to expedite the ATI Bill enactment process to ensure that it is gazetted before the expiring of a December 31, 2015 deadline.

Ministry of Financ spokesperson, Nations Msowoya, confirmed the meeting, saying it was part of “everyday meetings” Treasury holds to review implementation of all government programmes.

Although he could not isolate a particular meeting, Msowoya confirmed that passing of the ATI Bill is part of “budget support triggers” from both the EU and the World Bank and that government has up to March 31 to pass the Bill.

“It is part of our mandate to have these meetings so that we take stock of what has been accomplished. In fact, we discuss many issues about the economy,” said Msowoya.

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