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National Budget now at K1.3 trillion

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Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, has announced that the 2017/2018 budget which was initially pegged at K1.2 trillion has been revised to K1.3 trillion.

Gondwe said this in Parliament Monday in his winding-up statement to the debate on the budget motion he delivered in the House on May 19.

According to Gondwe, the revision has been made to accommodate some of the issues the MPs raised during the debate.

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He told the House that with the change, the recurrent budget will be K966 billion while the development budget will be K353 billion.

Some of the issues he highlighted in his winding up statement were the provision of K18 billion to drug budget which he said will be added to K34 billion to be provided by development partners.

He also told the House that K1 billion will be allocated to National Local Government Finance Committee to be used for drugs in rural health facilities.

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Gondwe also told the House that Constituency Development Fund (CDF) will be raised from K18 million to K20 million, saying government will not go for the 66 percent increase the MPs were looking for because there are a number of issues that have to be reviewed.

He said the National Planning Commission will have to review all issues surrounding CDF and District Development Fund (DDF) before a substantial increase is made.

“There have been proposals made on the issue of Fisp [Farm Input Subsidy Programme].The National Planning Commission will look at the issue,” he said.

After the winding-up statement, the MPs started scrutinising budgetary allocation to State Residences.

Mzimba South West MP, Khumbo Kachali, sought answers on K400 million allocation to presidential infrastructure and technical services.

Lilongwe Mapuyu South MP, Joseph Njobvuyalema, asked Gondwe to explain K22 million for agriculture input, and some funds set aside for food rations and medical services.

“The allocation for medical services has doubled. Are you saying that the President will be falling sick more and more often?” Njobvuyalema asked.

But Gondwe justified the State Residences’ budget.

“The [K22 million] allocation is not just for flowers. There is a lot of vegetation to tend to at State Residences. On medical services, there are a number of things that have been lined up. We were shocked that one reason we had a calamity 2012 [death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika] is that medical services were lacking. There is need to improve,” Gondwe said.

Although the MPs raised a number of issues, they eventually passed the K6.7 billion allocation.

The MPs later passed 11 more votes. These included allocations to Judiciary (K9.1 billion), National Assembly (K12.5 billion), Office of the President and Cabinet (K4.9 billion), Department of Human Resource Management and Development (K34.5 billion), Civil Service Commission (K449.9 million) and Greenbelt Authority (K2.7 billion).

Others are Office of the Director of Public Procurement (K857.1 million), Ministry of Defence (K5.6 billion) and Malawi Defence Force (K31.5 billion), Directorate of Public Officers’ Declaration (K476.3 million).

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