The Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) has said the 2022-23 National Budget is misaligned to the first 10-year Malawi Implementation Plan (MIP-1) which seeks to take the country to a lower upper middle income status come 2030.
This came to light in Lilongwe on Monday when Mejn disseminated its budget analysis report to membrts of parliamentary committees.
In the report, Mejn says some crucial projects that would propel the country to achieve its 10-year vision were not provided with enough resources.
For example, the study found that, in the national budget, urbanisation got K65 billion instead of the needed K86 billion, industrialisation got K44 billion instead of K401.6 billion.
Agriculture production and commercialisation, however, got K289 billion above the proposed K269 billion.
Cumulatively, the three pillars have K398.8 billion out of K757.5 billion, representing 53 percent.
Commenting on the findings, Mejn Board Chairperson Bishop Martin Mtumbuka said there was a need for lawmakers to ensure that the budget speaks to the needs of people.
“My hope is that when these observations are brought to the Ministry of Finance, they rectify or explain so that the misalignment is minimised or eliminated,” he said.
The Catholic Bishop also spoke strongly against corruption if the budget were to achieve the intended purpose.
He said there should be seriousness in fighting corruption before coming up with the budget to protect it from abuse.
“We are trying to carry water in leaking buckets as far as public resources are concerned. There is no point talking about how much we are going to spend unless we stop this bucket we have put our resources in from leaking,” he said.
Chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee Gladys Ganda said what Mejn findings mean is that there are programmes appearing in the Malawi Implementation Plan that is under Malawi 2063 but have not been budgeted for.
“So it means it is a document that we are talking about but there is no adquate funding that is put aside for that budget. Therefore, we have heard Mejn; we are going to take that issue to the Ministry of Finance,” she said.
Ganda, however, acknowledged that there could be limited resources due to other plans but the committee would wait for response from the Minister of Finance.
The Budget and Finance Committee is expected to respond to the proposed 2022- 23 National Budget next week.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.