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Gwengwe mum on ‘blown’ State Residences budget

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Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe yesterday refused to be drawn to comment on reports that State Residences has blown its budget midway the 2022-2023 financial year. A well-placed source at the Ministry of Finance said Treasury is prioritising collections from Malawi Revenue Authority to keep State Residences running.

“But of course, State House is not the only one that has finished its allocation. The picture will become clearer when the minister makes a presentation in Parliament next week Friday especially if scrutiny vote by vote is done,” the source said.

Parliament passed K14 billion for State Residences as it passed the K2.84 trillion 2022- 2023 national budget in March this year.

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Asked about the said depletion of State Residences budget, Gwengwe said he could not talk about the matter.

“I am not allowed to comment on the budget in anticipation,” he said, adding, “I need to address Parliament first. I hope you understand. These figures must first be presented to parliamentarians. I will present figures on Friday to Parliament.”

Press Secretary for President Lazarus Chakwera, Anthony Kasunda said yesterday that he needed time to consult before commenting.

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Executive Director for Church and Society of the Blantyre synod of the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) Reverend Master Jumbe described the depletion as a sign of bad governance.

“This smacks of poor governance and entrenched impunity on the part of the State House. However, it does not come as a surprise looking at the many and continued trips that the President is making.

“It is very unfortunate that the president announced austerity measures on public finance management while he was not prepared to adhere to the same,” Jumbe said.

Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito said Chakwera should heed the call of Malawians for him to lead in cutting on spending.

“The advice from poor consumers is to remind the President that his extravagant style of living is a mockery to Malawians who cannot afford food on a daily basis,” Kapito said

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