The chairperson of the Parliament’s Social Welfare Committee, Alex Major, has rejected claims that opposition lawmakers were acting in a manner to frustrate the passing of the 2016/17 National Budget by demanding their conditions of service to be implemented.
Major said it was nothing more than distorted or concocted information that some members of Parliament (MPs) as bent at frustrating the budget because government has not given them interest-free loans.
He said there is no plan from any member of parliament to sabotage the budget as claimed by government, saying demands for their condition of service was from across the board including ruling Democratic Progress Party (DPP) legislatures who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to push for the loans.
Major said MPs cannot shoot down the budget their salaries “comes from the same budget,” wondering how they would benefit if they shoot down the budget.
Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) public relations officers Alekeni Odala Menyani said the party had already rejected government’s claim “in the strongest possible terms”.
Meanwhile, Major said Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe agreed to adhere to the MPs demands , including access to General Purpose Administration (GPA) loans, and the two parties have signed for it.
Gondwe told Parliament that the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) will be increased from K12 million to K25 million but pointed out that the CDF raise will depend on availability of funds.
“We are happy with the position government has taken and we have rested our case,” said Major.
However, he warned that if government does not fulfil then an appropriate action will be taken.
Finance Minister Gondwe said bluntly that government cannot give the MPs interest-free loans or subsidies to the extent they like.
“We don’t have money to spend. We only have enough money for essential activities of government including the purchasing of maize,” said Gondwe.
Last week, Parliament went into an uproar over the conditions of services which include GPA and emergency loans.
GPA is a 36 months loan amounting to K3 million which all MPs are eligible to apply. Government subsidises its interests.
There has been bad blood between the Peter Mutharika administration and the opposition MCP since the 2014 elections which the opposition claimed were fraudulent and that Mutharika was declared winner of stolen votes.
Senior MCP leaders and legislatures were arrested recently for allegedly plotting to topple the Mutharika administration after government claimed the plot was discussed through a Whatsapp messenger sharing platform.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :