Peter Mutharika vows not to stop Malata subsidy
President Peter Mutharika has vowed he will reject any move by Parliament to stop implementation of the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme (DAHSP), popularly known as Malata subsidy.
Mutharika’s remarks come on the back of calls from opposition parties and economic commentators for the programme to be scrapped off arguing it is not worth the cost.
Speaking during the opening of the upgraded Masauko Chipembere Highway in Blantyre on Saturday, Mutharika said the programme is meant to provide shelter to the poor and any attempt by Members of Parliament to end it will be in vain.
“Malata subsidy will continue. We started that programme to ensure the provision of decent houses to the elderly, disabled and other poor people. Surprisingly, there are some people who are not comfortable and think that subsidy programme is not important and are planning to stop it. But let me tell them that we cannot stop it.
“Even if they discuss it in Parliament and Members of Parliament agree to end the programme I will not sign that. If it comes to my desk, I will veto it outright. Oh yes,” Mutharika said amidst ululations from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters.
He said his government will let its critics waste their time with criticism while the DPP administration focuses on developing the country.
The opposition Malawi Congress Party, People’s Party, Malawi Economic Justice Network, Economics Association of Malawi and some independent economic commentators have questioned the continued implementation of DAHSP, saying its cost does not make any economic sense.
During the presentation of Mid- Year Budget Review statement on Friday, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, said the reduction of the development budget will be made through a suspension of a few projects that can be removed without major impact on economic growth.
“It is expected that this will mostly include small projects that dominate our (Public Sector Investment Programme). A list of the projects that could be suspended without an impact of the economy will be circulated in the house next week, Monday, 29th February, 2016 [today],” Gondwe said.
Members of Parliament are expected to start responding and make suggestions to Gondwe’s statement today.
According to the finance minister, the 2015/17 national budget has been slashed from K929.7 billion to K906 billion amid government’s failure to meet revenue collection targets in the first half of the financial year.
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