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K12 billion to unforeseen expenditure raises eyebrows

Some Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday quizzed Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, to justify the sum of K11.8 billion allocated to unforeseen expenditure.

The MPs wanted him to specifically mention the areas that the funds in questions are addressing.

The unforeseen expenditure, which is vote number 278, houses funds that are meant to address unforeseen occurrences such as natural disasters and Gondwe said the amount has been increased because the government is not sure of how much will be needed to address some issues including the dry spell.

“Because we are not quite sure [of] how much is needed to address the dry spell and other problems that the Minister of Agriculture talked about, we thought we could allocate K10 billion to unforeseen expenditure for the time being,” Gondwe said.

But some MPs, most of them from the opposition Malawi Congress Party and People’s Party, wanted justification on how the K10 billion figure was arrived at as, according to them, funds that they have been approving for the vote have not benefitted Malawians.

Some MPs that protested the vote include Maxwell Thyolera, Richard Chimwendo Banda, Esther Jolobala, Collins Kajawa, Juliana Lunguzi, Kamlepo Kalua and Ralph Mhone.

It reached a point where Gondwe became furious and said he could not respond to questions that wanted him to justify the allocation but later changed his mind and answered subsequent questions on the same.

“This is what we thought was the best if we look at the statement that my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture, presented. It is up to you to approve it or not,” he said at one time.

Despite all the disagreements, the MPs approved the vote. Earlier, he had asked them to approve that the provision of K1.8 billion be revised to K11.8 billion.

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