Malawi Parliament approves K300bn budget revision

Parliament has given the stamp of approval to the revised K300 093 416 529 Zero-Deficit Budget which has been cut fromK320 billion presented in June 2012.

The budget amendment was approved Monday at the National Assembly in Lilongwe in a day which was not short of drama.

Business delayed in the House because the Speaker’s symbol of authority, the Mace, was missing and could not be located for close to an hour.

Deputy speaker Juliana Mphande told legislators that deliberations could not start due to a “technical hitch” but business later resumed when the Mace was found and the Sergeant-at-Arms ushered Speaker Chimunthu Banda in the House.

Despite approving the revised budget, MPs prevented Finance Minister Ken Lipenga from deducting K95 million from their allocation.

MP's stop cuts to won allocations

Henry Duncan Phoya, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) MP for Blantyre Rural East argued that the National Assembly was a protected expenditure and according to Section 183 (3) d, “no money shall be withdrawn” as it could disable the functioning of Parliament.

“Section 183 (2) states that when a Minister of Finance makes a provision, such provision shall be passed without revision save where it is insufficient to meet expenditure for the National Assembly,” Phoya, a respectable lawyer said.

Lipenga told the House that he consulted the Solicitor General on the question of protected expenditures and was advised that MPs personal emoluments weren’t protected under the constitution.

“I have been advised that only salaries for the President, the Vice President, the Chief Justice and the Ombdusman fall in the protected category of the section 183 of the Constitution,” he said.

“ The other monies that qualify is  the money for convening of Parliament and not emoluments.”

The Finance Minister said he had reallocated the K95 million to Other Recurrent Expenditures (ORT) account of Parliament than leaving it on personal emoluments which the House could still not access by June this year.

The National Assembly was allocated K3.5 billion in the June budget but it has been reduced to K3.4 billion.

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