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Experts speak on budget outlines

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Lorraine Nyasulu

As Parliament convenes today for the 2020/21 Budget Meeting, there are mixed feelings among stakeholders on a possible structure of the next financial plan.

The budget, which might have been crafted in a way to facilitate economic recovery and outline possible remedies to effects of the novel Covid-19, would be tabled in Parliament at a time the country’s economy remains fragile due to political uncertainty.

Finance Minister, Joseph Mwanamvekha, is on record saying implementation of the 2020/21 budget will face a lot of challenges.

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Economics Association of Malawi president, Lorraine Nyasulu, said in an interview on Wednesday that the budget should reflect the aspirations of Malawians on the path to recover from months of subdued economic activity due to political uncertainty coupled with effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

Nyasulu said the economists’ body hopes that the Treasury considered key issues affecting the country including emerging issues which are posing grave threats to the economy when crafting the financial plan.

“We expect that this budget is going to reflect a Covid-19 response and also trying to see how the industry can be supported.

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“We also hope that the budget will show how the agricultural sector will be supported because it remains key driver of the economy,” Nyasulu said.

Employers Consultative Association of Malawi president, George Khaki, said the next budget should focus on economic recovery.

“We are also looking at reducing youth unemployment which currently is going over 23 percent with almost half the population being the youth. So government should try increasing job opportunities,” Khaki said.

ICT Association of Malawi president, Bram Fudzulani, should champion technology-led economic development and the government should consider removing excise tax on the internet to make it accessible to many.

The 2019/20 budget was pegged at K1.8 trillion after being revised upwards during the mid-term budget review.

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