Malawi’s public debt stock not under control – MCP

Parliament on Friday passed a four-month  K511.3 billion provisional budget presented b new Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha which forms part of the 2019/2020 national budget amidst concerns that there is more borrowing both on domestic and foreign debts.

Local Government Minister  Ben Phiri interacts with MCP Chief Whip Robin Lowe after passing the provisional budget.- Photo by Lisa Kadango, Mana

Member of Palrliament for Lilongwe Msozi North Sosten Gwengwe, who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP spokesperson on finance in Parliament,  said Malawi’s public debt stock, estimated at around K3 trillion, is currently not under control and is unsustainable.

Mwanamvekha said government will reduce domestic debt from the current 4.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 0.3 percent.

But Gwengwe wondered: “The minister aims to cut domestic debt from 4.1 percent of GDP to 0.3 percent. How does he intend to achieve this?”

He said government debts have drained the country a lot as its combined principle and interest put together is enough to pay the whole civil service.

Gwengwe said: “We have taken these loans willy-nilly. Instead of giving pay rises to our civil servants, we are busy paying companies huge sums of money in form of interest payments.”

He, therefore, appealed for discipline in order to save such resources and use it to improve people’s livelihoods.

“But if we are disciplined enough not only as a government but also as parliament, because it is us in this House that pass these kind of debts, then perhaps we will be saving some needful resources that can be used to improve living standards of Malawians,” said Gwengwe.

Mwanamvekha said concerns that Malawi is borrowing a lot cannot be left unattended to because they have been raised before.

“We will also ensure that whatever we borrowed is properly used for the intended purpose and also ensure that there is value for money,” he said.

Mwanamvekha presented the interim budget pursuant to Section 178 of the Constitution and after a resolution for the National Assembly to approve and authorise him to withdraw from the Consolidated Fund an amount not exceeding K511 269 522 794 for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on services of government from July 1 2019 to October 31 2019.

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