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Treasury seals public finance loopholes

By Chimwemwe Mangazi:

Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, has said accounts reconciliation between the office of the Accountant General (AG) and the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has stemmed cases of theft of public money in government.

Gondwe said currently, government ministries and departments are reconciling their spending with the AG and RBM every month, a development that has pleased donors.

Gondwe said, if the reconciliation processes were instituted earlier, theft of public funds could have been avoided.

“We were not making the required reconciliations between the government figures and banking figures When you have a cheque-book, it is very important that you reconcile your balances and what you have in your cheque-book for you to know whether you are spending rightly or wrongly.

“Currently, ministries are reconciling every month and that is the most important reform that we have achieved and the donors are quite happy with that,” Gondwe said.

He added that the reconciliations are a better option stressing that the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis) is just a tool for controlling budget spending.

“Even without Ifmis, you can reconcile figures. There are many countries in the world that have no Ifmis but are reconciling their figures. So Ifmis is something that helps you to control the budget,” Gondwe added.

The improved public finance management comes against a background of billions of kwacha stolen in government coffers in 2013 in a scandal dubbed Cashgate.

Development partners resorted to withdraw direct budgetary support following Cashgate, which impacted the economy.

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