Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has trashed opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which labelled the proposed 2015/16 National Budget as an illegal document because it violates the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act and not backed by any current economic and fiscal policy.
MCP spokesman of finance, Dowa West MP Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi called the budget document illegal.
But In his winding-up speech on debate in parliament, Gondwe said the financial plan followed all legal requirements.
“I would like to inform the House, that we published a report on the economic and fiscal position prior to the budget statement that was circulated in the House. I am sure that, among the many publications that were circulated at this time, a number of the Honourable Members may have misplaced some of their copies. I have a copy here with me and should anybody want to look at it, I will be able to supply them with a copy,” Gondwe said.
Gondwe explained that any Budget Statement since 1964, has a section that details the world and regional economic development and ends with summary of the economic developments in Malawi.
“We also publish and circulate the Economic Report among the budget documents, which contains detailed information on the subject. All these are made available to Honourable Members in order to report on how the economy has performed.
“Our forecast on the likely outturn of the economy during the fiscal year in question is in the form of assumptions that are intended to give the context within which the budget is being formulated. Mr Speaker, Sir, these have been done,” said Gondwe.
The Finance Minister said if MPs “patiently studied” the document and the statement, “they will surely conclude that all the legal requirements that he is referring to have been complied with as we do every year.”
He also responded to concerns by some MPs who said the budget is a consumption plan.
Gondwe said through the budget, he has managed to keep the development allocation at the internationally recommended 25 percent of the total budget.
The Finance Minister said the development expenditure was about eight percent, which is above the minimum of six percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
However, Gondwe promised to do better next year on the priority sectors such as tourism, trade and industry, mining and energy.
MPs are currently scrutinising the allocations vote by vote with no indication of dissent.
The proposed 2015/16 National Budget has increased from K901 billion (US$2 billion) to K930 billion (US$2.1 billion) pending approval by the House.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :