MCP MPs turn up heat on Malawi President: Travel bill too much

Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) lawmakers have been conducting their role of checks and balances in responsible way in the national assembly,  the recent being from McSteyn Mkomba who criticised President Joyce Banda over her unstoppable public spending under the pretext of donating relief maize to the needy.

President has of late engaged herself in busy schedule of donating the country’s staple food in her name to the rural needy as a response to the October report of Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee which has  indicated that the number of food insecure people in need of assistance has risen from 1.6 million to about 1.9 million.

However critics are describing the move as a waste of countries finances saying the money spend on the presidential trip is more than the amount of the maize donated.

Mkomba told parliament Thursday that President Banda is spending $42,000 in allowances and fuel just to distribute maize and flour worth about $7,700.

Mkomba:  Travel bill too much

“I am deeply concerned because the president is spending $42,000 for expenses such as fuel and allowances against $7.700 worth of food relief,” he said.

Nkomba was just one of many parliamentarians in the national assembly who have asked President Banda to reduce local and international travel saying the trips are straining the country’s ailing economy.

But President Banda has remained adamant arguing that those against the exercise are merely jealousy for political reasons.

“I have a duty to feed millions of Malawians that are experiencing food shortage. No matter what others say I will not stop feeding my people,” she said.

Loan for furniture

Also in the House this, MCP chief whip Joseph Njobvuyalema also asked questioned the rationale behind Malawi Government to obtain a loan for construction of Nkhata Bay District Hospital to finance the purchase of furniture.

“Why should we be approving money for a project which is not being completed?” he asked as he contributed to the debate on the bill in which government wants to borrow at least K2.57 billion ($8 million) from the Opec Fund for International Development to finance part of the hospital project.

Government is said to have already borrowed almost K3.4 billion ($10.7 million) for the same project.

“Should we really borrow for the purpose of buying furniture or for buying blankets, or to pay salaries?”  asked Njobvuyalema, who is also MP for Lilongwe Mapuyu South.

But Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga said the supplementary loan will go towards financing additional wards as well as purchase of equipment such as furniture.

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