Opposition shreds budget
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and People’s Party (PP) legislators Sunday took turns in criticising the K1.5 trillion budget Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe delivered in Parliament.
The two parties have said the 2018/19 budget, unveiled two weeks ago, does not offer hope.
In MCP’s response, titled ‘Why Are You Looking So Sad Nehemiah?’, and delivered in Parliament by spokesperson on Finance Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi, the party has highlighted that President Peter Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration’s have failed to honour promises it made to Malawians.
“The people of Lilongwe asked me, Mr Speaker Sir, as to why the 2018/19 Sona [State of the Nation Address] did not say anything about the Salima-Lilongwe Water Supply Project,” Dzonzi said.
He added: “The 2018/19 annual budget, Mr Speaker Sir, is also silent regarding the future of this water project. Even the country’s current Public Service Investment Charter does not include Salima-Lilongwe Water Supply Project.”
Dzonzi demanded to know how the government has planned to implement the K4.8 billion newly-created Youth Internship Programme, targeting 5,000 youths.
“We are told that the selection will be based on qualification and nothing else. We are further advised that these youths will be placed in various ministries, departments and local councils. What this government has not told us is about the operational criteria to be used for choosing the qualified youths,” he said.
He said the best approach would be to allocate internship funds to training institutions such as Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Malawi, Mzuzu University and other government training institutions.
On Youth Tree Planting Programme, which has been given K5 billion, he said the Department of Forestry in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has already been given an allocation for a similar activity.
He said the government should utilise sets of youths who have graduated from colleges.
The MCP spokesperson on Finance also observed that although the Education sector has received the largest share of the budget at K166 billion, secondary education did not get a fair share of the available resources.
He also said, though the allocation to the Ministry of Health of K86.7billion ranks third after education and agriculture, it falls short of the 15 percent Abuja target.
In the response, Dzonzi also faulted government’s recent behaviour of bailing out parastatals from debts they have.
He, therefore, said the MCP demands a ministerial statement from the line ministry on why Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi has been paying for mis-procurements and on invoices raised behind the backs of its management.
PP, through its spokesperson on finance John Chikalimba, faulted the DPP government for, among other things, failing to take heed of advice.
“Mr Speaker Sir, it is unfortunate today that, instead of all of us seeing Malawi under the DPP leadership doing better, after seemingly taking heed of our freely proffered advice, the opposite actually continues to be true. This is quite unsettling, to say the least Mr. Speaker Sir. If it were the People’s Party government, we could have done that,” he said.
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