Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe on Monday said the 2015/2016 budget currently being scrutinised in Parliament followed all legal requirements.
Gondwe was responding to an observation by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson on Finance, Alexander Dzonzi, that the budget is illegal because it does not follow what is written in the Public Finance Management Act.
In his winding up statement on the budget debate, Gondwe said the budget is legal.
“I would like to inform the House that we published a report on the economic and fiscal position prior to the budget statement that was circulated in the House. I am sure that, among the many publications that were circulated at this time, the Honourable Member may have misplaced his copy. I have a copy here which he may wish to look at,” Gondwe said.
He also said government publishes and circulates The Economic Report among the budget documents, which contains detailed information on the subject.
He said all the documents were made available to the MPs in order to report on how the economy has performed.
“Mr. Speaker, Sir, all these have been done. If honourable members patiently study the budget and the statement, they will surely conclude that all the legal requirements that he is referring to have
been complied with as we do every year. Our view, therefore, Mr.
Speaker, Sir, is that like the 50 budgets that precede it, this budget is as legal as the framers of our Constitution require it to be,” Gondwe said.
He also responded to concerns by some MPs who said the budget is a consumption one.
He said the development part of the budget is 25 percent of the total budget, as required by international standards.
“If the 2015/16 budget is to be analysed closely, Honourable Members will find that the development account of the budget is, in fact, 25 percent of the total budget. It is also an internationally observed standard that the development account of the budget be set at a minimum of six percent of GDP. In fact, development expenditure totals more than six to eight percent of GDP in the proposed 2015/16 budget,” Gondwe said.
“The 2015/16 budget cannot, therefore, be a consumption budget. Within the development account, we have emphasised investment in roads, probably at the expense of other deserving investments
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