Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and People’s Party (PP) have trashed the minister of finance’s mid-term statement presented in Parliament on Friday proposing a supplementary expenditure amounting to K32 billion( $64-million).
In his statement, Gondwe said government has under-spent by 1.5 percent of the total expenditure of the targeted K365.7 billion by mid-year.
The Finance Minister told the House that the implementation of the 2014/15 zero-aid budget had faced setbacks due to the under-collection of domestic resources and a lack of grants from donors.
Donors pulled aid out of Malawi following revelations that public resources had been pilfered in a corruption scandal known locally as “Cashgate.” Auditors claim the government lost close to $100 million as a result of the fraud.
Malawi was left with no choice but to craft a zero-aid budget for 2014/15.
“This requested extra funding is due to an interest bill that increased by 26 billion Malawian kwacha [some $52 million] and the Farm Input Subsidy Program, which increased by 10 billion Malawian kwacha [about $20 million],” Gondwe said.
The minister proposed scaling down of the 2014/15 development programme to the five votes and transferring resources between votes as necessary.
The notable votes that have overspent include the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) which spent 63 percent of its annual vote by December 31st, 2014, the National Assembly (63 percent), the Accountant General’s Department (60 percent), the Malawi Police Service (156 percent), the Malawi Electoral Commission (99 percent) and the Immigration Department (62 percent).
“These, therefore, are among the votes that will require supplementary resources to allow them to operate to the end of the financial year,” he said.
Opposition parties, however, criticized the minister’s statement as “empty.”
MCP rubbished Gondwe’s statement as “concealing” and “lacking in specifics.”
MCP spokesperson on financial matters Joseph Njobvuyalema said Gondwe failed to outline how government has implemented the Farm Input Subsidy Programme as well as the cement and iron sheets subsidy.
“We did not hear how the two main projects aimed at poverty reduction have performed,” said Njobvuyalema as quoted by Weekend Nation.
He said MCP expected Gondwe to provide details on how government has dealt with outstanding payments it owes the private sector.
Leader of PP in Parliament, Uladi Mussa, said his party would have loved to hear about “the magic” that has led to the stabilisation of the kwacha.
According to Mussa, his party has information that government borrowed money to help in the stabilisation of the currency.
“Gondwe was supposed to enlighten us on this allegation,” said Mussa as quoted by the paper.
Leaders of political parties represented in Parliament are expected to start reacting to the minister’s speech next Monday.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :