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MCP, PP tough on mid-budget

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By Chimwemwe Mangazi:

Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and People’s Party (PP) legislators Monday reacted to the mid-year budget statement which Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, delivered in the august House on Friday, with a strong message that they would not approve amendments made to the budget.

MCP spokesperson on financial issues, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Lilongwe Mpenu Nkhoma, Collins Kajawa, said domestic and foreign debts, pegged at K3.5 trillion, have gone beyond the acceptable threshold.

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“Locally funded development projects have been scaled down and there is no material justification, given the review statements, to encourage us to approve additional debts.

“The general elections will be conducted in less than 75 days and no major development project can be implemented in the remaining days and, as such, persistent borrowing in the second half of the fiscal year will likely hatch and create high inflation rates,” Kajawa said.

PP Chief Whip, John Chikalimba, echoed MCP’s stance that his party would not approve changes made to the budget.

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He said continued vulnerabilities to climate shocks, which are being experienced in Malawi, persistent cases of corruption in the public service, limited infrastructure, low adoption of technology and persistent energy deficits are some of the factors that would thwart growth of the economy.

“Underperformance of grants is the reason, in the first half of the financial year, we underspent on foreign financed projects by 52.8 percent. Underperfomance of grants is also the reason there is an upward revision of our budget deficit by 24.6 percent.

“As we deliberate in this chamber, domestic debt has already exceeded its mid-year target by 3.3 percent. As a consequence, in total the government will exceed its annual target of K205 billion,” Chikalimba said.

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