March 10, 2010 / 4:15 PM / in 8 years

Britain reduces aid to Malawi over presidential jet

* Britain cuts aid to 19 mln pounds

* Malawi bought $13.26 mln presidential jet

By Mabvuto Banda

LILONGWE, March 10 (Reuters) - Britain, Malawi’s main bilateral donor, has cut aid to the southern African nation this year after Malawi bought a $13.26 million presidential jet last year, a senior British diplomat said on Wednesday.

Malawi’s finance minister told parliament recently that the government had made some payments towards the purchase of the 2 billion Malawi kwacha ($13.26 million) jet.

Gwen Hines, head of the Department for International Development (DFID) in Malawi, told Reuters that Britain had cut its aid to the country by about 3 million pounds as a result.

“The ministers were concerned with the purchase of the presidential jet and effects it has on public finances in the country,” Hines said.

“We provided 19 million pounds this year, compared to previous budget support of 22 million pounds... this was based on our annual assessment against DFID’s three partnership principles that are a key criteria for any budget support...” Hines said.

The three principles, she said, are government commitment to poverty reduction, sound public financial management and human rights.

The International Monetary Fund also had concerns with the government which delayed the approval of another programme and forced donors to withhold support.

But last month, the fund approved the extended credit facility programme and unlocked around 500 million dollars which were being withheld pending IMF approval.

Malawi is an aid-dependant nation with close to 40 percent of budget support coming from the international community. (Reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Editing by Charles Dick) (For more Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: af.reuters.com)

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