Bishop Mtumbuka warns MPs against rubber-stamping the 2021/22 national budget

The Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) has warned members of Parliament (MPs) against the rubber-stamping of the proposed 2021/22 national budget, emphasizing that the programmes and figures therein should be reflective of the socioeconomic aspirations of all Malawians.

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the Catholic diocese of Karonga has challenged not to just rubber stamp budget figures

MEJN board chairperson Bishop Dr. Martin Mtumbuka sounded the warning during an engagement meeting with MPs on the 2021/22 national budget analysis.

Mmanjamwada–There’s overwhelming evidence of the persisting levels of various forms of inequalities in our Malawian society

With funding from the Danish Church Aid (DCA) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), MEJN conducted analyses aimed at assessing the budget’s level of contribution to fighting social and economic inequalities, and establishing the budget’s alignment to the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III).

The analyses were conducted under the the Fighting Inequality Project, which is designed to support strengthening civil society actors and space to contribute to an equal, respectful, and inclusive society that allows women, men, girls, and boys to live healthy, dignified lives and claim their rights.

The project, which mainly focuses on the health, education, and social protection programs, was developed due to shocking prevailing, multifaceted inequality gaps across the globe.

This week, MEJN has arranged a series of engagement meetings with MPs to share results of the analyses with MPs for their consideration when contributing to the debate on the budget.

And in his opening remarks at the first leg of the meetings, Mtumbuka emphasized that being the first budget to finance Malawi’s new development agenda of Malawi 2063, it is important that the resources allocated to various government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) should work towards reducing inequalities between the rich and the poor.

“The 2021/22 national budget is unique because it will be implemented in nine months as the country shifts its fiscal year from the traditional 1st July to 30th June to the new and proposed calendar, which will be starting on 1st April through 31st March. Looking at the three key factors on which this budget is premised, we can all agree that the expectations out there are very high from this budget,” he said.

Mtumbuka, who also heads the Karonga Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, assured that MEJN shall pay particular attention to ensuring that the good economic governance it champions has a practical and significant positive impact on the quality of life for rural communities who form the bulk of the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of this country.

Head of Programmes at NCA/DCA Country Programme, Paul Mmanjamwada, disclosed that despite combined efforts between the government and its development partners to improve the socioeconomic livelihoods of Malawians, majority of citizens continue living in abject poverty.

Mmanjamwada said escalating numbers of the people living below the poverty line are a shocking inequality revelation to Malawi.

“The Vision 2020 just expired last year and there is still overwhelming evidence of the persisting levels of various forms of inequalities in our Malawian society,” he said.

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