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Parliament u-turns on meeting outside

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The Business Committee of Parliament meeting on Tuesday made a U-turn on an earlier position to hold the Budget Meeting outside the Chamber in the wake of Covid-19.

Following the decision, both the opening ceremony tomorrow and the Parliament sitting will be held in the usual Chamber.

Parliament spokesperson, Ian Mwenye, confirmed the development Wednesday, saying the session will follow strict Covid-19 prevention measures.

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“There was indeed that option of holding the deliberations of Parliament in a marquee. However, a decision has been made by the Business Committee of the House to have both the state opening of the new session of Parliament and the subsequent 2020-2021 Budget meeting in the Parliament Chamber.

“This will be done under very strict Covid-19 preventive measures. For instance, attendance to both the state opening of the new session and the budget meeting will be strictly by invitation and wearing of face masks will be mandatory at all times,” Mwenye said.

He noted that, among some of the key issues to be discussed during the meeting is the deliberation of the State-of-the-Nation Address (Sona) to be delivered by President Lazarus Chakwera, deliberations on the budget and a look at some financial bills.

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Parliament is also expected to deliberate the Electoral Reform Bills that were sent back by former President Peter Mutharika.

Mwenye said Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara is expected to give a detailed programme of the Budget Meeting on Monday.

Meanwhile, State House has said President Chakwera will be physically available at Parliament tomorrow to open the Budget Meeting.

In June this year, former President Peter Mutharika opened the Budget Meeting of Parliament using a video recording as he could not come to Parliament in the wake of Covid 19.

“The President will physically be at Parliament to deliver the Sona,” said State House Spokesperson Brian Banda.

During the meeting, Finance Minister Felix Mlusu is expected to present a full budget after presenting a four-month K722.4 billion provisional budget on June 30.

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