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Hunger, economy to feature highly in House

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Expectations are high among political parties as Parliament convened yesterday for its 4th meeting of the 46th Session which will run for the next four weeks.

The meeting comes five months after the passing of the 2016/17 national budget pegged at K1.149 trillion.

Leader of the House George Chaponda said on Sunday that Members of Parliament (MPs) will handle most issues which were left over during the previous meeting.

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He said a total of 12 money and non-money bills will be discussed.

Chaponda, who is also Minister of Agriculture, presented a ministerial statement on the food situation in the country yesterday in the afternoon.

“This is one important issue that needs some good attention. I know that there is a lot of curiosity out there on where we are regarding the food situation.

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“The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development will also present his ministerial statement on the [Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme (Dahsp),” Chaponda said.

He added that one of the remaining six land bills will be tabled for discussion.

According to Chaponda, the Media and Communications Committee and the Legal Affairs Committee will also present a report on the Access to Information (ATI) Bill which was referred to the relevant committees.

Meanwhile, opposition People’s Party (PP) has said while it expects answers on the food situation and how the budget that was approved is being implemented, it would also want government to explain how it is dealing with persistent power and water problems.

PP acting president Uladi Mussa said on Sunday that Malawi is in a critical economic situation where authorities need to provide a clear policy direction.

“We also want government to explain the progress that has been made regarding the K236 billion fraud because there is just too much silence on the matter. It appears no one has been arrested and we wonder why.

“Another issue is that of Issa Njauju. We need answers because it does not make sense to claim that the murderers cannot be traced. Are we really serious on security and fighting corruption?” queried Mussa.

He also challenged that the opposition will be summoning President Peter Mutharika to appear before Parliament if the government side fails to provide answers on different ‘critical issues’.

PP together with Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) recently disclosed that they would want Mutharika to present to Parliament an assessment of the state of the nation.

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