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House passes K1.3 trillion revised budget

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Parliament Thursday passed the K1.314 revised budget which has seen a significant number of votes being slashed following poor performance of grants and revenue collection by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), among others.

The new budget is K9.3 billion less than the one which was passed in June last year.

Some ministries, departments and agencies that have had their allocations slashed include the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the Law Commission, Office of the Ombudsman, the Administrator General’s Department, the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development and the Ministry of Justice.

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On the other hand, the Judiciary, the National Assembly, the Office of the President and Cabinet, the Malawi Defence Force and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development have had their allocations increased.

In an interview after the budget had been passed, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe said he will bank on good weather and other natural phenomena so that the country does not experience a hunger crisis which may strain the budget.

“We also hope that the Malawi Revenue Authority will make up for the deficit that was there previously in the collecting of revenue. Otherwise, the only big challenge now will be to get more money so that the estimates are met,” Gondwe said.

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He added that, for the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec), whose allocation reduction did not go down well with some MPs who argued that the electoral body might not properly prepare for the forthcoming elections, Gondwe argued that Mec has been receiving significant increases in its allocations.

“Perhaps the challenge will be for the next budget. It seems donors will not give us the money that they used to give us. It will be reduced and we will have to use our own money,” Gondwe said.

Lawmakers approved 19 votes with very little scrutiny, with some passing without a single query.

In most cases, the opposition side only demanded answers on whether cuts on certain allocations would not affect some crucial projects, to which Gondwe has said the reductions were due to a freeze on travels and recruitments, among other reasons.

Meanwhile, Leader of the House, Kondwani Nankhumwa said the proceedings that led to the passing of the budget had been fruitful.

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