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Unrealistic Budget—Opposition

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SATISFIED—Patel

Main Opposition Democratic Progressive Party’s spokesperson on finance, Joseph Mwanamvekha, has described the 2021/2022 national budget as unrealistic because there is no sign for the rebound of the economy as Tonse government has failed to outline specific issues that would lead to economic recovery.

He was reacting to the 2021/2022 national budget presented Friday by Minister of Finance, Felix Mlusu, who said the economy has started rebounding towards recovery because of effective fiscal and monetary policies being pursued.

Mwanamvekha said the budget was not good and not a true reflection of what is currently on the ground.

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According to Mwanamvekha, there is no indication suggesting that the economy is bouncing back sooner.

“It is not a good budget because it is projecting an increase in borrowing and expenditure.

How could you say economy is going towards recovery when Kwacha is depreciating? Come September to December, the Kwacha will be at more than K800 per United States Dollar,” Mwanamvekha said.

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He said increase on debt will burden the private sector because government will continue borrowing.

On free duty week which government has introduced, Mwanamvekha said the move is selective since it will only include small business groups who will be allowed to import goods of up to $3000.

Mwanamvekha said the second Tonse budget is upside down as government continues to put VAT on cooking oil and removing VAT on beer which cannot benefit Malawians in rural areas who are supposed to benefit from the budget.

However, Mwanamvekha said he was glad that Mlusu in his statement mentioned that “Tonse government is consciously optimistic on stabilisation of the economy”.

On Affordable Inputs Programme, Mwanamvekha doubted if government would get support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“I will not be surprised if IMF does not support government. During our regime, we wanted to increase subsidy programme but they refused and remember no donor can have the audacity to invest in a country that does not have a programme with IMF,” Mwanamvekha said.

Parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee Chairperson, Gladys Ganda, cautioned government against borrowing. She said cutting on expenditure and borrowing can help the country’s economy to rebound.

United Democratic Front’s member of Parliament for Mangochi South, Lilian Patel said the budget was good and gave hope to Malawians.

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