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Government sweats over election funding

Joseph Mwanamvekha

Finance Minister Joseph Mwanamvekha has admitted that government is sweating to raise the required financial resources for the fresh presidential election, with only 20 days to the June 23 date proposed by the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament.

In an interview, Mwanamvekha said the problem has been compounded by weak revenue streams in the wake of Covid-19.

Without touching on the shortfall, Mwanamvekha said the biggest challenge is that Capital Hill would have to finance the budget for the fresh election on its own as the traditional donors have indicated that they are not helping government in financing the poll.

Former Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson, Jane Ansah, recently told the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament that the electoral body had a deficit of K8 billion.

And Mwanamvekha maintained that it will be difficult to fund the election.

“We are facing a very big challenge because we are faced with many challenges that need money, including Covid-19 and the election at the same time. In addition, we also have to pay civil servants.

“All this is happening at a time the resource envelope is thin, affected by drying revenue streams in the wake of Covid-19. It will be a very big challenge,” Mwanamvekha said.

He added that with the coming of Covid-19, many companies have scaled down operations, while others have completely halted production, a development which has choked revenue collection by the Malawi Revenue Authority.

Speaking when he presented the mid-year budget statement Mwanamvekha said Mec had submitted a provisional budget of K32.8 billion for the fresh poll and that the revised budget had provided K29.1 billion for that purpose.

But Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament Chairperson, Sosten Gwengwe, recently said the fresh election is crucial for Malawi and that the government has to find money for the exercise.

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