‘Pro rich’ Budget draws mostly criticism, some praise: Goodall strike upbeat tone for Malawi economy

The 2015/16 National Budget which Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe presented in Parliament on Friday, largely with local resources, has widely been viewed as a bitter pill to swallow mostly for the impoverished Malawians other than the well –off citizens.

Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe delivers 2015-2016 Financial year Budget in Parliament - Pic by Stanley Makuti

Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe delivers 2015-2016 Financial year Budget in Parliament – Pic by Stanley Makuti

Malawi leading newspapers said in their editorial comments on Saturday that the financial plan was not inspiring hope.

Opposition parties described the K901.6 billion budget as “painful” and “not for the poor”.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) shadow minister of finance Joseph Njobvuyalema said the Budget “failed the pro-poor test” by not prioritising help for millions of hard-pressed families, squeezing them with newly-introduced tax measures.

MCP said it was a “rich’s budget which squeezes the poor.”

People’s Party leader in parliament Uladi Mussa said the budget is out of sync with the people and based on ”wrong priorities”

Weekend Nation newspaper editorial titled: “Budget poses challenges for the poor, government” said the real focus should be on what’s not being stressed.

“We are referring to the impact of government’s squeezed expenditure blueprint on the well-being of the same Malawians in rural areas—majority of whom live on much less than a dollar a day—which donors and government have all along used to justify their joint pro-poor programmes,” reads the comment.

The Malawi News editorial was blunt to say Malawians should brace for tough economic times ahead.

The paper noted that Gondwe and his economic team “struggled” to balance the numbers in the absence of budgetary support from donors and the need for increased resources to buy food in the wake of drought that has hit the country.

“Faced with no choice and an ever shrinking kitty, Gondwe and his team at Finance have, therefore, mercilessly wielded their axe, cutting key allocations such as the K40 billion for the fertilizer subsidy down from K57 billion from the previous financial year and also warning the nation in Parliament that there would be sharp cuts in allocations to some ministries and departments to allow the government to buy maize. All this can only mean one thing and it is that as the country spends on food imports, the social delivery system will be left to rot, horrendously affecting the quality of life for many poor Malawians,” reads the editorial.

“All we can see is doom and gloom for the common man,” Malawi News commented.

The paper said the pain should be shared by all.

“As Malawians struggle with this hardship, it would be nefarious to see President Peter Muntharika and his cabinet continue living in luxury, criss-crossing the globe on unwarranted trips for example, claiming obscene allowances as if everything was normal when there are no drugs in hospitals as a result of serious budget cuts announced by Gondwe yesterday [Friday]. That will be unacceptable.”

However, there were some diplomatic praise.

Head of Britain’s Department of International Development (DfID) Jane Marshall said the budget demonstrated commitment to key social services, saying is is “full of good intentions.”

EU head of delegation Marchel Germann and British High Commissioner Michael Nevin welcomed the budget’s steps to move towards independence but called for prudence in implementation.

World Bank country representative Laura Kullenburg called for proper management of the resources.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) country director Geoffrey Ostricher described the budget as a “tightrope” saying “generally, it appears very good but we need to examine it very closely.”

In his budget statement Gondwe gave key allocations of MK133.7 billion to agriculture, MK109.8 billion to education, and MK77.4 billion to health sectors.

Gondwe is upbeat that Malawi economy is projected to grow by 7 percent.

He told parliament that he hoped the drop in inflation – which was triggered by declining oil prices and a narrowing budget deficit – will lift the value of the kwacha.

“The budget is drawn on the assumption that headline inflation will fall to 16.4 percent and that interest rates will also go down in the budget year,” the minister said before parliament.

New notable expenditures in the 2015/16 financial plan include financing the Higher Education Students Loan and establishing a grant fund for university students.

The budget session has meanwhile been adjourned for two weeks to allow parliamentary committees to scrutinise the budget.

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39 thoughts on “‘Pro rich’ Budget draws mostly criticism, some praise: Goodall strike upbeat tone for Malawi economy”

  1. John Laston Musongole says:

    The opposition inajaira kutsutsa as their name suggests but let us remove this mentality. Let us examine what the opposition is opposing before judging it because sometimes their arguments for opposing some decisions make sense and they are to the best interests of most Malawians. I think the opposition is doing the right by is opposing the budget that is only benefiting the rich. this budget will make the poor to become poorer as a result there will be no development in Malawi. Imagine people like the Late Bingu Mutharika, Peter Mutharika, Goodal Gondwe, and others who were educated through government scholarships, where would they have been today. If it were not for government sponsorship some of them could have been poor villagers in their homes. Govt sponsorship helped them to rise and become top officials in government. What they are doing is just selfishness. when they are enjoying and able to pay higher fees for their children they think that every one is like them. This is total ignorance because despite going to school they lack emotional intelligence and they lack empathy. In addition to that they are egocentric as a five year old child.

  2. kaunga says:

    the problem of Malawi opposition parties, they are very good on opposing everything, ine sindimadabwa nawo awa . their aim is to waisting the very crucial time of government.

  3. ENOCH says:

    KODI MUNAYAMBA MWAONAPO BUDGET YO KOMERA AMPHAWI MU DZIKO MUNO/ CHICHOKERE KAMUZU NTHAWI ZONSE IMAKHALA PRO RICH ZA CHAMBA

  4. Eliam b says:

    Budget ili bwino. A opposition anazolowera kuti evrythin that governt is going to present in paliament kumasusa kuti iwowo aoneke ngati madolo. Fotseki.

  5. Pichi says:

    Inu mmati malipilo akweze mawa! Asese kaye ma civil servants akungosewera bawowa ahhh. Alah! December basi tione oyenera kulandira misokho yathu. Shupit.

  6. Bololo says:

    People will start developing when they will realize there is no one who will develop them than themselves. Govt is not there for the poor, the poor are there for govt, to make sure it have office bearers every five years through there vote. Without the poor there are no govt, without the govt there are the poor.

  7. lol says:

    As long as Goodall continues to be Minister of Finance, Malawi will not see any change, trust me. We need new blood of the likes of Mkwezalamba. Otherwise, ababawa akalamba and it’s like kuyimba 10 ya Black Missionaries, same songs and same instruments no change at all but still calling themselves giants. Why do we have new models of cars every year? It’s change.

  8. Kuzolowela says:

    Kuzolowela kutukwana mu parliament basi kuti budget iduse basi debate ana amwano inu.

  9. OTSUTSA NDIKUKHALA KWAWO. BUDGET IKANGOPANGIDWA ANNOUNCE BY FINANCE MINISTER, OTSUTSA AMAITSUTSA NKUMANENA ZAWO CHONCHI. TINAWAZOLOWERA. AMAIWALA CHIMENE AKUYENERA KUCHITIRA ANTHU, NKUYAMBA KUMANGOTSUTSA ZILIZONSE. TIYENI TIGWIRITSE NTCHITO BUDGET YOMWEYO BASI, WE ARE GOING WITHOUT DONORS APAPA

  10. Aheberi 9:27 says:

    tb joshua ananena kale kuti kukhala mavuto azachuma ziko lonse lapansi
    .MUKUNGOLIMBANA ZOPANDA PAKE MALO MUTI TIZIKONZA KOKAFIKILA UKATHA MOYO
    UNO, OLO MUNTHU UTAKHALA NDI CHILICHONSE NDIKUKHALA ZAKA 300. ZIKO LAPANSI
    LIKUYEMBEKEZA CHIWELUZO BASI.YESU NDIYE NJILA YAMOYO WOSATHA KOMANSO MOYO WABWINO.
    olo musandikonde koma zoona zake ndizimenezo

  11. mngoni wa pa phata says:

    Each and every year we get to be informed of the % on increament whatsapp this year? we are just moving up and down searching for information but to no avail.whats your plan like this year you the government guys?

  12. Thitherward Wendo says:

    If the taxes of the poor instead of the donations of the rich are to be used to feed the government, beware: biting the hand that feeds you hurts only when that hand is your own.

  13. BOY MASAKA says:

    FISP REALLY CONTRIBUTES TO FOOD SECURITY, KUNGOTI NYENGO NDI YIMENE YIMASOKONEZA TARGET YA BOMA.

  14. Asma James says:

    We all ķnow that our country is poor…let them do what is best for the country Coz we choose them to guide us and we trusted them pa meme timawa votera, Please stop selfish this cannot change anything.

  15. ujeni says:

    Toom much money is allocated to consumption than for infrastructure development. When Recurrent expenditure takes up 70% of the budget, dont expect Malawi to develop. More trekking to South Africa to seek better life will never decrease.

  16. vetran says:

    gud burget mr finance minister koma muchose 10% ya mayunitsi stikugwirizana nayo

  17. Kanonono says:

    Fellow countrymen, gone are the days when donors were footing our budget. Analysis of development funds from donors show a serious nosedive during the past ten years. Donors will always bring you excuses on why they will not be able to give you their pledged funds but the fact is that after the 2008 global economic crisis, donors are no longer interested in giving free budget funds to poor countries. It is a global phenomenon though it may be a bitter pill for poor Malawians to swallow. You do not need an Economics Professor to understand how tired he donors are in supporting poor countries’ budgets. A look at what has been happening in neighbouring countries will reveal just how Malawi needs to stand on its own. In Zambia, they said in 2011 that they would not disburse the pledged funds to corruption concerns. Since Zambia’s budget depends on donors by just 8%, it was not a serious concern to Zambians. In Tanzania, they raised similar tricks and the country decided to cut dependence on donor funds in its budget to reach about 8% in their budget that is currently under discussion. This means that even if donors decide not to bring their money, Tanzanians ill not be seriously concerned and impacted. In Mozambique, a group of donors who contribute to that country’s budget announced in June, 2014 that they were cutting their pledged amount over corruption pledges. The examples would go on and on but the fact is that you should not expect donors to tell you that: “now we do not have funds for you”. They will only give you fake promises and make sure that they find new excuses and new conditions to give you as a buy time approach.

    The foolish and desperate Africans will spend all their time sending all their past leaders to court without really understanding if the purported corruption really did occur and if it did, how serious and huge was the money involved. They will not have time to compare the claimed amount with what the government will spend on lawyers and judges in executing such high-profile cases.

    With what is happening in Ireland (having voted in favour of same-sex marriages) just yesterday, expect donor funds to come with more pressing conditions. The best we can do is to put our government accountable on how to spend the little money that we expect to collect from our own sources. Depending on donors is a complete nonsense. Unfortunately, with few industries in Malawi, the government has limited avenues from where to collect the money. You will end up insulting Dr Gondwe and everybody else but where are the industries to help Malawi finance its budget from local sources? Try to put yourself in Gondwe’s shoes, what would you do? It is a painful exercise but the man has no option. Let him collect but should also strengthen our oversight organs so that we know where our money goes. I hate the donor syndrome. Let’s get back to work and help our country to develop.

  18. Dannie Grant Phiri says:

    Mr winstone Msowoya, can’t Goodall be praised, if praise he deserves, without blowing an out of tune note on the tribal trumpet?

    It’s such public boasting, misplaced in my opinion, that invites ‘hate’ from other tribes.

    Besides what is there to praise in a budget that reduces duty on importation of vehicles and shovels it on information technology, the very field that the government keeps touting as the vehicle to a developed Malawi?

  19. John says:

    The problem with our so called economic commentators is that they always expect the budget to be full of subsidies. Come on! Internet is not for the poor. We should move away from subsidizing everything.

    For instance education (including tertiary)is almost free in public institutions, free drugs, free fertilizers, and yet the same population is busy vandalizing properties such as cables, road signs, electricity poles, forest reserves, etc. Days for free services is long gone

    Let the poor jack up and start working hard. Poverty is in the mind.

  20. Patriotic says:

    Iam looking forward to a Government which shall come up with a budget that seeks to create jobs not one which is full of subsidies for appeasement. As a country with lots of unemployed youths this budget is not worth celebrating.

  21. Patrick yohane super says:

    Ziri boh pass the budget on but gvt has 2 check on fertilizer subsidy, the amount is less but the rest is good

  22. mapwiya says:

    breaking news -malawi akomera opata. 2015-2016 budget more billions of kwachas more taxes for the poor.malawi woyeeeeeee the hot heart of africa

  23. donor what they want is to test intergrity of this government .frankly speaking malawi can make it without donors . look now what is happening since 2013 up to date. But what i hate is dpp mandate to practise cash gate again through bail out msb toxic loans

  24. Ingwenyama. says:

    Nthawi zonse budget ikamapelekedwa mu parliament imamveka ndi chizungu chabwino koma ndalama zikangolowa ku ministry kapena ku department aboma ndi pamene timamva zizungu zija zoti cashgate, money londering, looting, abusing of the office, imbezling, swandling and other like. Lemerani kwambiri ndi misonkho ya anthu osauka. Mulungu akaziwa yekha zochita nanu!

    1. 80 % of people in Malawi are doing small scale business 15 % are Indians & 5 % are foreign investors from different nationals. MK 500,000 import duty only Indians & other foreigners would manage to pay.chonde tiganizireni ife a Malawi anzanu omwe tinakuyikani pa mpando.Ngati simusitha dziwani amwenye apitirira kukhala olemerabe a Malawi anzanufe tisauka kuposa kale chifukwa sitikwanitsa.

  25. Mhesha says:

    News men were busy with their pen n paper doing the vuvuzela things that FISP is eroding tax payers money. ..is encouraging dependency syndrome. ..now government has taken heed of your crying by cutting the FISP allocation. .and u ve started another song: Tough times for the poor. …!
    It’s clear government will collect more taxes from the rich…u know that. These taxes will fund salary increase for low earning officers. U ve heard it that ur good donors are not bringing any penny. So where can get other monies for additional subsidies?

  26. commentator says:

    Good intentions are not suffient… We need credible interventions that produce positive results. For example, why does government still give billions worth of fertilizer to people that can’t use it effectively? It will be washed away by floods anyway. Use this money for a more robust social protection agenda for everyone, using a mechanism that makes accountability easy e.g. contract commercial farmers to produce maize at large scale. Such farmers can get insurance for their crop. Or give the money directly to ADMARC and let farmers buy it at subsidized rate through farmers’ clubs. This allows for greater transparency, efficiency and accountability e.g. names of clubs, members and villages they come from can be compiled, printed and displayed in public places at community and district levels. This can significantly reduce fraud. Contact me for more information on this concept…

  27. Kanyalufefe(hunter) says:

    Pro-poor my foot. Ziliboo basi pass the budget on Monday and life goes on. Debate yachani kungozolowera kutsutsa basi. Chaka chapita Zero deficit pano pro-poor zero basi life goes on

  28. GOGO says:

    BOMA LIYIKE MASO PA CHITUKUKO NTHAWI YATHA MUKAMVERA OSUTSA MUGWA NAYO OOH YES

  29. bezai says:

    palibe chazeru apa! Malipiro kukweza december? Umbava bax

  30. mwamputa says:

    uku NDE kutapana mkamwa.Why increasing salaries in December and not July? I dont think any caring MP will agree to this rubbish.A Gondwe ifenso ndi anthu and we feel it.Civil Servants need their increaments now soon after this budget session and not later.Apo biii tithamangitsana.

  31. Winston Msowoya says:

    Congrats Goodall.You have once again proved that mbwenus are talented minority people.You are following the foot steps of late Dunduzu K.Chisiza the most brilliant economist Malawi had ever produced,but did not live long to continue use his gargantuan talents.In his book: Africa What Lies A Head,Dunduzu had laid down economic plans which not only Malawi could have followed,but most of newly independent states highly impressed and vowed to put his plans in their future economic setup.Only Hastings Banda could know how our economic wizard parted from us.Goodall is still being used by present leadership who have divided our country on tribal lines.Goodall is good,but his tribe is bad.Malawians,northerners excelled in education since the colonial era.What we are seeng now are typical jealousies and ignorance because when the government educates a Lowe,it has educated a Malawian who will help Malawians,the same with Tumbuka.You must be ashamed of your misguided sentiments.Malawi belongs to us all.

  32. Bololo Wachitumbuka says:

    Zikukomera a ndalamakale mukuika tax pa ma text koma mukuchosa msonkho wa galimoto cholinga muzi itanisa magalimotowo motchipa posaganizila amphawi!!

  33. Paradiso says:

    Pepani azungu sadziwa kuti anthu mu mamidzimu akuvutika bwanji. Mzungu wants budget with more tax and less subsidies. He is relating to things in his developed country. So listen to him at your own peril.

  34. Hardson says:

    The budget is clear to every one had it been there no fisp program it would be something else. Let us recommend the government as it has shown that even without donors we can stand you can see them (donors) with fears of shy they are coming one by one and am happy that the government is so quiet very defferent with others before as they would be making noise time and again “we have no donor support” kwinaku akuba. Boma la anthu a nzeru ili. As for the poor I think civic education is required by CSOs, Opo and gov. Sensitizing the to handle with every assistance coming in their way for it will never be the same again concerning fisp program. They need more careful tikhale serious ndi nthaka kuyigwiritsa ntchito kuti fisp ina idzachite target ena osati omwe omweo ai.

  35. Ife osadzistata timva ziti? Azungu akuti budget ili bwino koma Amalawi eni ake akuti siilibwino. Nanga poti mumati mzungu sanama titani? Boma ndi lakuba. Kukweza malipiro mu December. Opposition block musayelekeze kuvomereza izi. MP wathu sangalolere izi. Mumuthandize.

  36. chefourpence says:

    we need to cut MPs salaries

  37. Ife osadzistata timva ziti? Azungu akuti budget ili bwino koma Akuda akuti siilibwino.

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