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Budget meeting opens today

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POYA—Caretakers must be provided for in the budget

Parliament is today opening for the 2022-23 budget meeting, with President Lazarus Chakwera expected to deliver his State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also leader of the Democratic Progressive Party in the chamber, said Chakwera’s Sona comes at a time service delivery was deteriorating in the country.

Nankhumwa cited the rise in the cost of essential services, the take-home package of the lowest paid civil servant, crippled private sector and the rising cost of products and services due to depreciation of the Kwacha, among other issues.

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“We expect him to give a clear roadmap on how he is going to avert the current situation because Malawians are suffering; the survival of Malawians is normally from hand to mouth,” he said.

He said the Tonse Alliance-led administration’s performance had been below average.

“There is no way Malawians today can say that they are looking forward to a brighter future. What Malawians are asking for is the implementation of promises such as the creation of one million jobs, free electricity connection, passport fees reduction, among other things,” he said

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Leader of the United Democratic Front in Parliament Ned Poya said Chakwera should also speak on modalities his administration was putting in place to address the impact of Tropical Storm Ana, which has left many people, especially in the Southern Region, devastated.

He said child protection services were another area worth looking into.

“In the last budget, the government only provided less than K2 per child. With the Malawi (Mw) 2063, we are failing to protect children, who will be taking over from the ageing population.

“Again, caretakers must be provided for in the budget,” he said.

In last year’s Sona, Chakwera unpacked a roadmap for the long term vision, Mw2063, in the next four years, focusing on three priority areas of achieving permanent food security, job creation for the youth and wealth creation.

He expected the economy to grow by 3.8 percent during the 2021- 22 fiscal year, slightly down due to the impact of the Covid pandemic, while expressing hope that the economy would also grow by 5.8 percent buoyed by a rebound in manufacturing, transport, construction and wholesale sectors.

Leader of Government Business in the House Richard Chimwendo Banda did not pick his phone to comment on the issues Wednesday.

Parliament spokesperson Ian Mwenye said Parliament would be deliberating on committee reports, ministerial statements and bills, among other items on the agenda.

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