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Members of Parliament pass K1.1 trillion budget

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Parliament Thursday authorised government to spend at most K1,132,932,802,836 in the 2016/17 financial year, which means about K4 billion has been added on the initial K1.129 trillion which Minister of Finance, Goodall Gondwe, announced as the revised fiscal plan in his mid-year budget statement.

In June last year, the lawmakers approved a K1.149 trillion budget whose deficit was expected to be financed by loans and grants.

However, the poor performance of grants where most potential donors failed to honour their promises compelled Gondwe to revise the budget downwards even though domestic revenue is reportedly performing beyond projections.

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Gondwe said he is hopeful that government will still receive some grants in the remaining months of the financial year.

He added that the scrutiny of different allocations by Members of Parliament (MPs) was crucial and that it had shown that they are passionate about the welfare of Malawians.

Before the House adjourned sine die, Speaker Richard Msowoya, Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa and Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera said deliberations in the just-ended Parliament meeting had been very fruitful.

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Msowoya, however, observed that the way Parliament operates has to change so that it is in line with modern democratic trends.

On his part, Nankhumwa said even though the way the lawmakers transacted their business was generally good, there still is room for improvement.

“We can do more and we will obviously do more. For instance, funding to the National Assembly is not enough such that committees usually fail to conclude their businesses. We have to make sure funding is increased,” Nankhumwa said.

In his adjournment statement, Chakwera also reiterated that Parliament has to change the way it conducts its business so that democracy is a reality.

He cited some Standing Orders which frustrate efforts to summon a president before the august House as some things that need to change.

During the meeting, Parliament passed three legal bills and two money bills. Outstanding bills include the Public Audit Amendment Bill, Political Parties Bill and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Bill.

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