Uncertainty over budget meetings
Over six months after Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, agreed to a proposal made by the Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) to have periodic quarterly meetings to review budget performance, the meetings are yet to take off.
Making a presentation during the 2016/2017 Pre-budget Consultation Meetings in Blantyre, Ecama President, Henry Kachaje, asked the Minister to organise quarterly meetings with economic experts to update them on budget performance so that they could bring in their input.
But responding to an emailed questionnaire on Monday, Kachaje said the Minister is yet to convene a meeting for the experts to help shape budget implementation.
“No we haven’t had any meetings with the Minister since the pre-budget consultations,” Kachaje said.
He was, however, quick to note that Ecama is not bitter, adding that it only made the offer to help Capital Hill as one may of enhancing budget implementation in the country.
“The request for the meetings was to include other key professional bodies such as Institute of Charted Accountants in Malawi (Icam) and Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. It might be possible that the Minister might have had such meetings with the other professional bodies, which is fine if their input has been of help.
“Such meetings, if they were held periodically, would have availed the Minister independent and objective constructive feedback on the implementation and performance of the budget,” Kachaje said.
He further noted that the meetings would also serve to enable the Minister gather suggestions for the next budget based on continuous reviews and assessment of current budget implementation performance as opposed to relying only on limited times allocated for pre-budget consultations.
Gondwe could not be reached for comment on the matter Tuesday. But speaking on the sidelines of the pre-budget consultations, Gondwe said government was willing to meet economic experts on a quarterly basis on budget implementation.