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‘Cabinet dissolution will no affect 2022-23 budget’

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SILUMBU—It is no cause for worry

Economic experts and Treasury have indicated that the decision by President Lazarus Chakwera to dissolve Cabinet will not affect the 2022-23 national budget.

Addressing the nation on Monday evening, Chakwera indicated that all functions of Cabinet had reverted to his office until he announces a reconfigured Cabinet.

This comes at a time the 2022-23 budget meeting of Parliament is expected to commence next week Thursday, when Treasury is expected to present a new financial blueprint and members of Parliament deliberate on the same.

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It follows completion of budget consultation meetings that the Ministry of Finance was conducting recently.

In an interview, University of Malawi based economist Exley Silumbu said the former minister of Finance Felix Mlusu, having concluded the consultations, drafted a budget which may not be scrapped off, even if he is not re-drafted into the new Cabinet.

“The development may not affect the budget because they may appoint a very experienced public financial expert who is better than Mlusu or they may choose to maintain Mlusu and will continue with his plan,” Silumbu said.

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In an earlier interview, Economics Association of Malawi Executive Director Frank Chikuta said the government has no choice but to service debt and implement the Malawi 2063 development plan in the new financial year.

“On servicing debt, the government has a choice because that is statutory expenditure but on contracting new debt we have a choice. We have to make sure that we are making interest payments and all payments that are falling due to the opposite of not doing that would be a default and a default is not in our interest because we still want to maintain some credibility in terms of credit worthiness.

“Following the Malawi 2063 is straight forward because that is our guiding framework and government has no choice again, if we do anything to the contrary then it will be a problem,” Chikuta said.

In an interview on Wednesday, Treasury spokesperson Williams Banda said the draft budget had not been sent to the Cabinet and therefore it will be vetted by the new cabinet.

“There will be no disruption whatsoever because, in any case, the Secretary to the Treasury (ST) runs all the operations and will be able to brief the incoming minister, if there be a new individual. Currently necessary coordination is being done between the ST and all principal secretaries and as the President said if need be, consultations will be done with his office in place of the minister,” Banda said.

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