Parliament Wednesday morning passed the K2.19 trillion national budget, effectively allowing the Tonse Alliance-led government to legally spend domestic revenue, loans and grants which come into its systems.
The passing of the budget has provided some relief to Malawian businesses which could not optimally transact with the government in the absence of the financial appropriation law.
The budget was passed with only a single amendment, to the Malawi Electoral Commission vote.
Last week, Finance Minister, Felix Mlusu, had indicated that government would take away about K500 million that was designated for constituency demarcation from the Mec vote but yesterday, the Finance Minister announced that he had put back K300 million to help facilitate the process.
Mlusu could not hide his excitement when the budget was passed in the House.
He said the passing of financial plan would help the government to start implementing its campaign processes.
“I would like to thank Members of Parliament from both sides of the isle for contributing constructively towards the national budget,” Mlusu said.
Following the passing of the budget, Mlusu said he would be bringing in another motion to the House next week to operationalise the increase of the tax free threshold on Pay As You Earn from K45,000 to K100,000.
He said workers should expect to start enjoying the fruits of the increased tax threshold from this month.
Before the budget was passed, many lawmakers appealed with Mlusu to increase the allocation towards the Ministry of Health budget from the proposed K114.731 billion.
Among others, the MPs wanted government to improve health service delivery in their respective areas in addition to rehabilitating health facilities.
Mlusu said government would consider some of the requests by the lawmakers during the mid-year review process.
Leader of the House, Richard Chimwendo Banda, said government is impressed with the way MPs provided scrutiny to the national budget.
Chimwendo Banda said the budget analysis by the MPs during the deliberations shows that the two weeks spent during the cluster meetings were not in vain.
Budget and Finance Committee Chairperson, Gladys Ganda, applauded the government for apparently allowing the lawmakers to discuss the budget openly.
Ganda said although Mlusu did not take all the concerns observed by the lawmakers on board, it was encouraging that he promised to consider them during the mid-year budget review.
Last month, Mlusu told Parliament that the 2020/2021 budget themed ‘Living the promise’ would focus on achievement of sustainable and inclusive growth; macroeconomic stability; and sound financial management.
He said these objectives would be pursued through transparency and accountability, the rule of law, enhanced resource mobilisation, efficient resource utilisation and provision of relevant infrastructure.