In the middle of threats from opposition Members of Parliament that the 2015/2016 budget would not be passed until some issues were resolved, the legislators Thursday united and passed the budget.
The two issues that emerged as stumbling blocks to the passing of the next fiscal year’s budget were the proposed sale of the Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) and the issue of K92 billion audit on alleged fraud during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) first regime.
As of yesterday Rumphi East MP, Kamlepo Kalua was still pushing for the ‘original’ forensic audit report on the K92 billion fraud.
But when it came to the actual business of the day, the MPs passed five votes in the morning and two in the afternoon to finish the passing of the seven votes that remained out of all the 50 votes that were expected to be passed in the committee of supply.
Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe later explained that the budget was still at K930 billion, because about K6 billion, which is supposed to go to Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (Marep), was not included.
“Included in the budget is about K6 billion from fuel levy, which will be used for Marep. That amount was not included in the figures brought to Parliament,” Gondwe said.
Soon after passing the last vote, from a distance, relief could be seen registered on Gondwe’s face. This was confirmed in an interview later.
“I am very happy that the budget has passed. The cluster meetings did a very good job. They came up with real issues. Of course there were diversion in the middle of budget discussion, especially the so called K92 billion issue which might have derailed us but we have very good rules in Parliament,” said the relaxed Gondwe. He added:
“During discussions we had questions which were very constructive and we were able to change wherever necessary.”
Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera said the opposition will closely monitor the implementation of the budget.
“We believe that Malawians are rejoicing with us. What they want are services and they will be able to get them through this budget. Our role will be to provide oversight on the implementation of this budget so that Malawians benefit from it,” he said.
Soon after the budget was passed almost all MPs clapped hands in a show of satisfaction.
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