The United Kingdom (UK) has spoken on government’s measures including introduction of a duty-free week and expansion of the Affordable Inputs Program (AIP) in the 2021/22 National Budget.
Stakeholders have been weighing in on the financial plan which Finance Minister Felix Mlusu presented to Parliament a week ago.
In a response to an emailed questionnaire, UK Embassy Charge de Affaires Fiona Ritchie hailed the budget as it portrays steps towards improving the fiscal position, while supporting recovery from Covid pandemic and addressing Malawi’s Vision 2063 priorities.
She further commended government for increasing resources towards law enforcement agencies such as the 10 percent annualised expenditure for the Malawi Police Service and 14 percent for the Office of the Ombudsman
She said there is still a risk that the budget has raised expectations that a number of measures can be delivered on the back of optimistic projections for economic growth.
“With the annualised deficit and the share of government borrowing from expensive domestic sources both forecast to increase sharply in 21/22, it will be critical to contain expenditure at realistic levels and to mobilise domestic revenue and new sources of international finance to ensure that government borrowing does not crowd out much needed private investment and that arrears continue to be cleared,” she said.
Richie said the government needs to look at shifting its resources and energies away from subsidised agricultural inputs on low-value crops and towards a policy mix centred on key infrastructure such as energy, irrigation and transport, and policies that create a more predictable business environment and lower costs.