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Experts urge MPs to discuss cost of living, AIP woes

Parliament

Governance and accountability experts have asked members of Parliament (MPs) to utilise their next meeting to discuss modalities of confronting the rising cost of living and concerns around Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP).

Parliament is meeting for mid-year budget review from Monday next week.

Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willy Kambwandira said, generally, the socio-economic status looks gloomy and does not offer any hope.

Kambwandira cited unequitable access to National Economic Empowerment Fund loans, lack of clarity and decisiveness around AIP, and introduction of more taxes as some of the challenges.

“As regards to lack of clarity on AIP, we understand that, up to now, suppliers for AIP have no contracts. We expect Parliament to intervene on this. Our concern is that any further delay on AIP will have huge effects on the crop production resulting in food insecurity,” he said.

Kambwandira also said they expected the Public Finance Management Amendment Bill to be tabled without fail and that it should be adequately debated in the interest of Malawians.

The Public Finance Management (Amendment) Bill has three clauses and seeks to amend the Public Finance Management Act,2012 in order to provide for a specific limit of the amount the government can borrow in order to reduce the country’s internal and external debt.

The country’s debts are around K4.9 trillion.

Commenting on his expectation, Executive Director for Church and Society governance arm of the Livingstonia Synod of CCAP Moses Mkandawire said while Parliament has an obligation to ensure that the Central Government is able to collect enough money, it should not over-collect to avoid overstretching poor Malawians.

“I think Parliament should play a critical role in looking at all this. The sector needs to be guided,” he said.

Meanwhile, Association of Older Persons in Malawi Northern Region Chapter has written MPs through their representative Bennex Mwamulima, MP for Mzuzu City, to push for the enactment of the Old Age Pension Bill.

One of the group’s representatives Dennis Zgambo said, with money in their pockets, older men and women have their dignity and status restored at community level, thereby reducing the escalation rights violations.

The 49th Session of the National Assembly will run from November 8 to December 3 2021.

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