Members of parliament from government side Wednesday afternoon contributed immensely to the mid-year budget review, a day after the opposition claimed President Peter Muthartika muted them with money.
Minister of Labour Henry Mussa surprised his colleagues on the front bench of the House when he asked the government decision to reduce the Home Affairs vote by K500 million when issuance of national IDs is supposed to start in 2018 and the National Registration Bureau which falls under the ministry is supposed to start this year.
When his colleagues on the front bench, solely reserved for senior cabinet minister reminded him he was minister, he shot back:”I am also a member of parliament, I want to contribute, what is the problem?”
His colleague, Home Affairs minister Jean Kalirani told him the National Registration Bureau is making payments for the registration preparatory work in phases therefore she said the available money will catch up with the next budget in four months time.
However, the members of parliament took much time on the ministry of Health budget line which has seen an increase by K5 billion from K81 billion to K86 billion.
Health minister Peter Kumpalume impressed the backbenchers with eloquent answers showing he is on top of issues at the ministry and time and again received rare standing ovation and handclapping from the vocal and critical opposition back benchers.
He told the attentive House that theft remains the major factor that is making hospitals have fewer or no medicine.
However, Dedza east MP Juliana Lunguzi, who is also chairperson of parliament’s Health Committee challenged the Minister on this.
Kumpalume conceded in some hospitals, administrators simply abused or mismanaged monthly funding saying some administrators planned for travel allowances when funding was effected instead of prioritising on buying food and fuel.
He also blamed the centralisation funding of hospitals through district commissioners as pool funds for government departments at district level as some departments use allocations for hospitals when they have used their allocations.
As at 5pm on Wednesday, parliament had passed 26 votes out of the designated 50 budget lines and they were still meeting beyond the.5 pm knocking off time. On Tuesday, they knocked off after seven in the evening.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :