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National budget raises concerns

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Economic think-tank, the Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) has raised concerns over processes that are followed when framing the national budget.

Mejn has observed that even though Malawi claims to follow participatory budgeting, the approach has not been fully embraced as the views of other stakeholders are not considered by the government when drawing its budget plans.

Stakeholders that attended the Mejn 2017/18 pre-budget consultations meeting held recently argued Malawi is only implementing the concept theoretically while Central Government continues to dictate what to incorporate in the financial plans.

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Others suggest that low level of knowledge among some stakeholders is also another challenge frustrating the initiative.

One of the participants at the meeting lamented that there has been low capacity building and transparency in budget implementation in the past years due to less involvement of communities on their budgetary lines.

Mejn Regional Manager for the South, Mike Banda, said often the national budget does not address the issues and concerns presented by communities.

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“Most programmes and projects are drawn by the line ministries hence failing to address the needs of the communities,” he said.

Senior Chief Kapeni of Blantyre said failure to effectively consolidate input from all stakeholders towards the budget creates room for disparities.

He said this leads to inconsistencies in budge t implementation.

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