What seems to be a justification for ‘blame game’ in politics is slowly strangling the Malawi government as reports indicate that huge unpaid debts left behind by former president Joyce Banda’s (JB) adminstration are on the throat of the country’s ailing economy.
There are reports that Malawi government still owes foreign fertilizer suppliers of JB’s controversial Farm Input Loan Programme about $62 million which is around MK46 billion at the current rate.
The amount is said to have got up due to accumulation of interest and the weakening of the current’s currency since 2014.
The programme was initiated with an aim of helping about 750 000 farmers across the Malawi to access cheap loans to buy fertilizer.
The foreign suppliers are Export Trading Group (ETG), Tanzanian-based Sealand Investments, Midima Produce and South African-based Bosveld Phosphates.
Sources from the Ministry of Finance told AmaBhungane that the government is currently struggling with the loan which was being covered through promissory notes.
AmaBhungane wrote that, “the high rate of defaulting on the repayment of the loans was attributed to poor programme administration, meaning that the treasury was burdened with settling the arrears using taxpayers’ money”.
The Minister of Finance also told the South African media house that it took too long to settle the debt because many farmers were yet to pay their loans.
The tendency of failing to cover government loans till the change of regimes sparks off accusations of improper governing and leaving the government in bad shape.