A former DPP member and now a deputy minister in the Joyce Banda administration Sosten Gwengwe has said former President late Bingu wa Mutharika failed to understand his own zero-deficit budget concept by confusing it with a concept where a country is able to locally fund its other recurrent transactions (ORT).
“Zero-deficit budget is not the same concept as funding ORT with our local resources. And I made failed attempts in this House to explain the two concepts when I said ‘this issue of zero-deficit budget is being confused and being mixed up,” he said.
Gwengwe, who is deputy minister of transport and public works, said as a nation it easier to run the ORT using local resources while the zero-deficit budget as propagated by late Mutharika was “far fetched.”
“We could have started from running ORT with our own resources,” he added.
Gwengwe said this time around people were making similar mistakes with the 2012/2013 budget by not fully understanding the concept behind the new administration’s fiscal blueprint.
“Someone mentioned that this budget is not for the poor, but in my opinion, this budget is for the poor as much as it is for the private sector,” he said.
Gwengwe called the budget a recovery budget which has in it programmes for the rural population meaning that it has a lot for the poor.
“This government was pressed between a rock and a hard place. This recovery budget came out of necessity. This is not a handout budget. First things have to come first and that is steering the economy back on track.
“This budget is for the poor farmer in my village as well as for the chief executive at MTL. The sooner we can recover the sooner we can enjoy a brighter future. This budget is really for all of us,” said
Gwengwe came in Parliament on an MCP ticket before he shifted allegiance to the then ruling DPP and then jumped ship following the coming into government of President Banda’s PP.