Malawi Parliament on Monday approved the State Residences allocation of K6.6 billion in the national budget despite opposition protests of some additional funds.
Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe was queried by members of parliament on the increase of K48 million towards medical expenses and supplies from K38 million to K84 million.
“Are you saying that the President will be falling sick more and more often,” wondered Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Lilongwe Mapuyu South MP, Joseph Njobvuyalema.
But Gondwe explained that following former president Bingu wa Mutharika’s sudden death ton cardiac arrest in 2012, State House came up with a fully-fledged clinic to take care of such eventualities.
Njobvuyalema again questioned Gondwe why the State Residence vote has been allocated funds for the rehabilitation of a security fence to the tune of K100 million which received a similar amount in the current financial year which ends June 30.
He also demanded answers on the increase in agriculture inputs from K21 million to K32 million, wondering what the agriculture inputs have to do with State House activities.
But Gondwe said the funds are to keep neat vegetation at State Residences, saying agriculture activities are not just flowers.
“There is a lot of vegetation to tender. If we relax one year, then the next year will cost more,” said Gondwe.
On the fence, Gondwe said the rehabilitation has not been completed.
Former State vice president now MP for Mzimba South West, Khumbo Kachali also raised questions on the K400 million allocations to State Residences for presidential infrastructure and technical services.
The State Residences vote was passed eventually.
Meanwhile, Gondwe announced that the 2007/08 national budget which was initially pegged at K1.2 trillion has been revised to K1.3 trillion.
Gondwe said the revision has been made to accommodate some of the issues the MPs raised when they critiqued the financial plan.
He said amongst the votes revised is the Constituency Development Fund from K18 million to K20 million.
The Finance Minister however said the National Planning Commission, the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament and Treasury will review the effectiveness of the fund, saying a document of audits which shows “there is some interference in the way the funds are managed.”
Gondwe said in his winding speech of the budget that there will be a provision of K18 billion to the drug budget.
The House also passed 11 more votes for allocations un Judiciary at K9.1 billion, National Assembly K12.5billion, Office of President Cabinet K4.9 billion, Office of the Director of Public Procurement K857.1 million, Ministry of Defence K5.6billion, Directorate of Public Officer’s Declaration of Assets K476.3 million.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :