Parliament passes K3.788 trillion budget


At exactly 04:43pm Thursday, Parliament passed the K3.788 trillion 2023-24 national budget after nodding to all the 58 votes in the financial plan.

The passing of the budget came barely a day before the close of the 2022-23 financial year.

The development means Parliament has successfully avoided a government shutdown, which occurs when the legislative branch does not pass key bills which fund or authorise operations of the Executive branch, resulting in the cessation of some, or all, operations of a government.


Initially, the budget was pegged at K3.87 trillion but Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe revised it down on Tuesday to reflect realities on the ground in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Freddy

But the budget has not taken into account the full impact of the devastating cyclone, which shook almost all the districts in the Southern Region.

The full extent of the damage caused by the deadly cyclone, which has so far killed 676 people, is yet to be computed but analysts believe it could be in hundreds of billions of Kwacha.


But Gwengwe said the budget has put in place some provisions as they await the full report of the damage caused by Freddy.

He was quick to note that it would be naïve for the government to bank on the national budget for Cyclone Freddy recovery, saying it is banking on support from development partners.

“We will be overwhelmed in any case, even by a layman’s assessment. The devastation is just so huge. What we built for decades has been washed away in one or two nights and we can only do our best under the circumstances.

“The budget has been realigned to reflect that aspect. But we know that our partners, the World Bank, are looking at two programmes which would be substantial enough. First of all is the programme which we normally call the SEC, which simply looks at existing projects and sees emergency components in all the existing World Bank projects already approved for Malawi,” Gwengwe said.

He added that authorities are also looking at exploring a crisis window with the World Bank, which may take Malawi a few months to put together a project for rebuilding in the four clusters of health, education, agriculture and infrastructure.

“Beyond the World Bank, beyond the African Development Bank, there are other partners, bilateral or multilateral, that are coming forward to help us in rebuilding.

“The UN [United Nations] family is mobilising [itself] and we believe it is through that kind of partnership that we can build back better without necessarily looking internally in the budget alone. The budget has tried to stretch. There is a limit [to which] it can stretch. For the rest, we will need a helping hand and there are people who are willing to partner us in the rebuilding process,” Gwengwe said.

Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament Chairperson Gladys Ganda said the lawmakers had a candid scrutiny of the budget.

Among other things, the budget has seen an increase in the allocation to the Roads Authority from around K9 billion to K45 billion to help in rebuilding some of the damaged roads and bridges in the aftermath of Cyclone Freddy.

The budget has also seen the allocation for the Unforeseen Expenditure vote being increased from K2 billion to K5 billion to help in the recovery process.

Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda said he was impressed with the level of scrutiny the lawmakers gave the budget.

“This is a good budget for Malawians. It is a budget that is looking at reaching out to the people, making sure that services are provided.

“What is needed is for us to make sure that whatever has been agreed here [has been implemented], because as we pass the Appropriation Bill tomorrow, it becomes an Act of Parliament, which is the mandate for us to use the resources,” Chimwendo Banda said.

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