MCP queries inflated Malawi budget figures 

The opposition Malawi Congress Party ( MCP) is demanding an explanation from the Minister of Finance on the increased budget figures for the 2014/15 financial year.

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said at one of the consultations on budget that this year’s budget is expected to rise to K743 billion.

But  MCP’s spokesperson on finance Joseph Njobvuyalema told a local radio MIJ FM on Wednesday that there is need for the Minister of Finance to justify why he has increased this year’s budget.

Njobvuyalema: Putting to task Finance Minister on budget figures

Njobvuyalema: Putting to task Finance Minister on budget figures

“We need the figure to be justified because last time when met in parliament to pass the financial resolution Gondwe  said the government will base its development agenda on the activities which were in the previous [2013/2014 ] budget,” he said.

Njobvuyalema said the activities in the previous budget were pegged at K648 billion.

“So our question is if it is based on activities on the previous financial year why has the budget increased to K700 billion plus. This is where he has to convince the house why he has inflated the figure to that level.”

Several commentators have trashed the just ended pre-budget consultations which were organized by the ministry of finance, saying they are a waste of time and resources.

A political scientist at the Chancellors College Ernest Thindwa told Radio Islam on Tuesday   that conducting pre-budget consultation meetings is a mockery to Malawians.

Thindwa said such meetings are of no use because many governments conduct them after setting aside priorities in their manifesto.

He said results of the consultations do not reflect views of all Malawians because most of the citizens from remote areas are not approached.

Another commentator Dr. Collins Kalua who works as lecturer in economics at the University of Livingstonia told a local radio that the meetings are unnecessary as the inputs from various sections of society are in most cases not taken into consideration.

“I don’t see the reason what they should waste money irresponsibly doing these pre-budget consultation because in most cases what happens is that what people recommend is not what is implemented. So I think this is a waste of money,” he said.

Malawi finance minister Gondwe has pegged 2014 to 2015 national budget at about K700 billion slightly higher than the 2013 to 2014 which was about K630.5 billion.

But Gondwe insists that this year’s Budget would not necessarily be an increase from that of last year, after considering other economic factors.

 

“We are talking about economic factors like inflation and the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals that would determine the level of this year’s budget,” he said.

This year’s budget is also expected to incorporate various factors which were introduced in 2012, aimed at resuscitating the country’s economy.

He did not clarify on whether the 40% donor budgetary contribution will be incorporated but said there is hope that some of the donors will make their contributions to the budget.

Donors suspended their budgetary support to Malawi in 2013, following the revelation of a massive corruption scandal dubbed ‘cash gate’ during the Joyce Banda administration.

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