The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has urged President Lazarus Chakwera to take advantage of his government’s first national budget as a jumpstart towards delivering the campaign promises the Tonse Alliance made in the run-up to the fresh presidential election on June 23 2020.
The CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa said while his organization acknowledges that it would be impractical for the government to deliver all the promises within a single financial year, it would work to the advantage of the incumbent leadership to seize the opportunity and use his government’s first national budget to start fulfilling its campaign promises.
“The first budget is a very critical pointer as to whether Malawians were sold a dummy, or it is a real deal! CDEDI, just like all patriotic Malawians, is anxiously waiting to see the Tonse Allince delivering its campaign promises made in the run up to the June 23, 2020 Fresh Presidential Elections,” Namiwa told journalists in Lilongwe this morning.
He said Malawians are waiting for the Tonse government to implement a Universal Fertilizer Subsidy Programme, and not the targeted farm input programme as per the indication in the provisional budget.
Namiwa argued that a target farm input programme, as unveiled some months ago by the Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu, is a complete departure from what the Tonse Alliance, especially the Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima told the nation during the campaign period.
“Just as a reminder, we have video clips of Dr. Chilima carrying samples of the 50kg fertilizer bags during his whistle-stop tours, where the universal fertilizer subsidy programme was promised to Malawians. Malawians are expecting the creation of one million jobs during their first year in government; the increased tax threshold band from K35, 000 to K100 thousand; the K15, 000 monthly stipends for the senior citizens aged 65 and above; free water and electricity connection; the one-week tax holiday quarterly/annually; reduction of passport charges from K90, 000 to K14, 000 and the affordable three meals a day for all Malawians,” he said.
Namiwa added that Malawians are also with baited breath to hear the kind of roadmap that the Tonse government has put in place in order to achieve the much-touted new Malawi for all.
He also stated that Malawians would be happy to hear Chakwera addressing the nation on sticky issues, including plans to abolish some laws and regulations that continue to oppress the very same people they were supposed to protect.
The CDEDI boss cited the Pension Act, Sections 64 and 65, which need to be reviewed. He said Chakwera must also come out clear on what steps he has taken to engage parliament and the law commission in a bid to reduce presidential powers and the independence and the promised empowerment of the office of the Vice President.
“CDEDI is also appealing to President Chakwera to begin to balance up his flowery speeches with actions since his tenure of office shall not be judged by the number of powerful speeches delivered, but rather whether Malawi has moved up the poverty ladder or not.”
CDEDI has also cautioned individual Members of Parliament (MPs) to desist from petty partisan interest in the way they deliberate in the House and that their focus should be on the plight of the poor people that voted for them.
“In the same vein CDEDI is challenging MPs to vote in line with the people’s needs, and not towing their political masters’ narrow partisan interests,” said Namiwa.
He demanded that parliamentary committees, with the help of the opposition members of Parliament (MPs), should wake up from their ‘deep slumber’ and start exercising their oversight role, which is a critical tool in the fight against corruption and theft of public funds.
He said parliamentary committees are supposed to inspect projects and track all the resources that were approved by parliament to avoid funding ghost projects.
CDEDI is a non-partisan, nongovernmental organization that was established in a quest to attain a well-informed and organized citizenry that can ably demand their social and economic rights at the same time hold duty bearers accountable for their actions.
Among many others CDEDI aims at sensitizing the masses on matters of national importance, inculcate the spirit of a peaceful coexistence among people of different ethnic, political and religious affiliations; provide civic education on people’s rights and responsibilities in economic independence and contribution towards national development and lobbying for the electoral law reforms.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :