Malawi opposition leader calls for unity for national transformation, digests national budget

Malawi’s opposition leader in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa has called on opposition parties, ruling parties, Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, civil society organisations, the faith community, the academia, and all Malawians, to work together in order to transform Malawi into a well-developed middle to high-income economy as captured in the ‘Malawi Vision 2063’ development agenda.

He was speaking in Parliament on Friday, July 9, 2021 at the close of the 2021/2022 Budget Session of Parliament.

Nankhumwa extended gratitude to all Members of Parliament (MPs) “for conducting business in this august House with an outstanding sense of purpose and maturity, as well as deep respect for each other, regardless of our political differences”.

Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa

“This is what Malawians fought for in 1993 and 1994. Indeed, Malawians were longing for a multiparty democratic dispensation where leaders and members of different political parties reach a consensus, on a wide-range of national issues, by way of mutual dialogue and understanding,” the Mulanje Central MP said.

Nankhumwa, who is also Vice President for Democratic Progressive (DPP) responsible for Southern Region commended the Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara and her two deputies, Clerk of Parliament and all parliamentary staff for presiding over business in the House with fairness and admirable decorum.

Parliament passed the 2021/2022 MK1.995 trillion National Budget in a record three and half hours on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

He congratulated the Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu for presenting the National Budget Statement on Friday, May 28, 2021, “and also for listening to the voice of the people of Malawi, through their representatives here, to make necessary adjustments to suit their aspirations”.

However, touching on the national budget, the Leader of Opposition concurred with the DPP Spokesperson on matters of Finance in Parliament Joseph Mwanamveka that the 2021/2022 National Budget is “consumptive; debt-ridden; unfriendly to the private sector; and not aligned to the Malawi 2063 Vision”.

“The Honourable Minister of Finance only allocated 30 percent to the developmental expenditure as opposed to the 70 percent for non-developmental and recurrent expenditure in the 2021/2022 National Budget. Developmental expenditure spurs direct economic development and growth, and ensures efficient social and community services. Developmental expenditure, Madam Speaker, attracts business investment of various scale, which stimulates private sector growth.

“Private sector is the engine for social and economic growth. The private sector plays a major role in creating wealth and as a country, we cannot be talking about creating wealth when we cannot allocate resources to the development budget,” said Nankhumwa, adding the government can achieve higher economic growth by allocating resources towards priority sectors such as roads and rail infrastructure, science and technology, tourism, health, education and agriculture, among others.

Nankhumwa said the Malawi economy is sinking, with no hope of genuine recovery anytime soon. He noted that at 8.9 percent, the inflation was very high and that in the Sub-Saharan region, Malawi’s inflation has only performed better if compared to just three countries namely Zambia, Nigeria and Angola, but has underperformed when compared to Mozambique, Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa, among others.

“The Malawi Kwacha has continued to depreciate against most of the major currencies,” he said.

Taxation

The Leader of Opposition said for Malawi to be competitive as an investment destination in this region, the government needs to improve macro-economic indicators and improve on so many other parameters, including our tax administration regime.

“We cannot hope to be an investment destination if our taxes are punitive both for local as well as international investors. Again on the issue of taxes, I hold that the measure for citizens to pay taxes in advance when importing goods is punitive and a disincentive to investment. Most Malawians, especially small-scale businesspeople, import goods whilst they are raising money to pay for duty as they are waiting for the cargo to arrive.

“As representatives of the people, we should have thought more about these people than introducing sweeping tax measures that would penalise them under the guise of broadening the tax base.

“Today, we are witnessing tax policies that are anti-business; policies that are meant to take away from the poor the little they have toiled for. Today, what used to be a police service has reverted to being a police force, harassing vendors and Kabaza operators. Malawians would have expected a compassionate government in these hard times of Covid-19, but this Government has lost any consideration for the poor,” he said.

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Shadazy
10 months ago

This people have forgotten the poor Malawians they only remember to compensate the Judges and HRDC stuff, they forget the poor people they manipulate to demonstrate on the street for change which was not there. time is ticking idya Nyemba sayiwala. Measure to measure.

Last edited 10 months ago by Shadazy
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