Finance Minister Felix Mlusu’s K2.2 trillion 2020/2021 National Budget which he has presented in Parliament on Friday has seen the Education Sector getting the lion’s share with a whooping K384.5 billion allocation which is 21.6 percent of the total budget, representing 5.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mlusu said these resources will cater for wages and salaries of teachers; operations for primary and secondary schools; development projects; and all education subvented organizations such as public universities.
Meanwhile, the agriculture sector comes second after education, with an allocation hovering at K354 billion which, about, K150 billion will be channeled to the Affordable Input Program (AIP) that has replaced the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP).
AIP is targeting about 4.2 million small-holder farmers purchasing fertilizer at a subsidized price of K4 900.
“Madam Speaker, in line with the promise of the Tonse Alliance Government of providing cheap agriculture inputs to smallholder farmers, K160.2 billion has been allocated to the
Affordable Input Program in the 2020/2021 financial year. Out of this amount, K132.7 billion is for fertilizer payments, K25.7 billion for maize seed and K1.8 billion for logistics,” Mlusu said.
Mlusu said 4.2 million farm families will be provided with cheap farm inputs.
“This, Madam Speaker, is not far from being a universal subsidy program assuming an average family size of four people, which gives approximately 16.8 million people that will be covered under this program out of the 17.6 million people in Malawi,” he said.
The country’s purse keeper said there is no sampling of farm families to benefit from the program as every smallholder farmer is covered.
“Madam Speaker, each farming household will purchase two 50 kg bags of fertilizer at a price of K4,495.00 per bag. As I announced in this August House during my presentation of the Provisional Budget, implementation of the AIP will use an electronic system as opposed to paper coupons,” he said.
Mlusu said the reform will ensure transparency and efficiency as National Identity Cards will be used when purchasing the fertilizer and all other farm inputs.
On the other part, Health and transport sectors get K204 billion and K150 billion, respectively.
Meanwhile, the budget projects total grants at K255.7 billion which represents 3.6 percent of GDP and it also projects interest payments of K376 billion, an increase from K243 billion from the 2019/20 approved budget.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :