Economists take on budget: Bamusi calls it ‘risky’ as Kubalasa says ‘cautious budget’

One of the country’s renowned economists and human rights campaigner, Mavuto Bamusi, has  described the 2013/2014 K603 billion national budget which was presented in Parliament on Friday by Finance Minister Ken Lipenga as a “a risky budget.”

During interviews monitored on local radio, Bamusi said: “It is a political budget, a risky budget as it has given away a number of areas.

“ Sources of revenue  is worrying because the minister of finance has announced a number of tax removals. We needed a strong tax base that we enable to collect enough revenue,” said Bamusi.

In the budget statement, there has been a reduction in import duty in a number of things like  safari vehicles, shuttle buses for hotels and resorts.

Bamusi: It's a risky budget
Bamusi: It’s a risky budget

Duty has also been reduced when importing machinery for the construction industry, livestock production, electricity generation and distribution, specialised mining and exploration machinery and specialised broadcasting equipment for television and radio stations.

But another economist, Dalitso Kubalasa, who is the also the Executive Director of the Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN), described the financial plan  as a “conscious budget”.

Kubalasa commended Lipenga for making “honest reflection” in his budget statement.

“It is a conscious budget despite being still in line with the austerity measures and economy recovery plan,” said Kubalasa.

He praised tax breaks, including increasing tax-free thresholds under Pay As You Earn (Paye).

Chancellor College Economics Professor Ben Kaluwa said it was “balanced budget.”

At least 41 per cent of the 638bn Malawi Kwacha (about US $1.6bn) budget will be financed by Western donor nations and agencies while the rest (51 per cent) will be financed through taxes.

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