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Building a Case for Change – Programme-Based Budgeting Reform in Malawi

Interviewee Profile - Tithokoze Samuel

Tithokoze joined the Malawi Ministry of Finance in 2005 as a budget officer tasked with assisting Ministries Departments and Agencies’ budget preparation and the monitoring of budget execution. She was appointed as a Principal Budget Officer in 2010 as part of the team responsible for championing the implementation of reforms in the Budget Division. Between 2011 and 2016, as an Assistant Budget Director, Tithokoze oversaw Malawi’s migration to programme-based budgeting starting from 2014. She is currently heading the newly established cash management unit for the government of Malawi.

Building a Case for Change – Programme-Based Budgeting Reform in Malawi

Malawi sought to implement programme-based budgeting to build stronger linkages between sector and national policies and the budget; a shortcoming of the previous output-based budget. However, the initiation of the reform took place in an environment of donor fatigue after the cashgate scandal and in the midst of political transition. Tithokoze and her team were faced with the challenge of changes in the structure of government with MDAs changing through mergers. Furthermore, the team had to convince a skeptical Ministry of Finance senior management team including the Minister of Finance of the relevance of the reform.

Tithokoze and her team opportunistically presented the programme-based budgeting reform as a way to embed accountability processes at the core of the budget framework. The reform was approached in phases, progressively bringing on-board the relevant MDAs as they came to terms with the complexity of the reform.

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