About K411.01 billion would be spent on local councils in the 2022-23 financial year, representing a 31 percent increase from last year, when the estimated budget was at K282.52 billion.
This is according to revenue and expenditure estimates which the National Local Government Finance Committee (NLGC) has consolidated for all the 35 councils across the country.
According to a document released by NLGC, out of the budget, personal emoluments comprise a major part of the budget, estimated at K324.86 billion.
Personal emoluments comprise salaries, leave grants and allowances for Central Government paid staff in the sectors of health, education and agriculture.
“The personal emoluments budget for 2022-23 is K339.3 billion against a total ceiling of K324.9 billion.
“The K14 billion difference is as a result of additional personnel that councils anticipate to recruit following an authority to fill some of the vacancies by DHRMD [Department of Human Resources Management and Development]. District councils would also need a total of K11.88 billion for implementation of development projects under the World Bank-funded Governance to Enable Service Delivery project,” NLGC indicates.
Meanwhile, economic expert Betchani Tchereni has said increased funding to councils is a recipe for accelerated socio-economic development.
The economist added that local councils are the machinery through which the government executes its social welfare programmes; as such, they have a big mandate to ensure that the Central Government delivers.
He, however, called for increased accountability in public finance management.
“Therefore, it is very important that people should account for the resources in the right manner,” Tchereni said.
According to NLGC, Section 149(9) of the Constitution mandates the committee to receive all estimates of revenue and expenditure from all Local Government authorities and prepare a consolidated budget.
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.